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    Kroger Rolling Out LNG Trucks

    Grocer claims it's Oregon's first natural gas-powered fleet of heavy-duty trucks

    By Jim Dudlicek, EnsembleIQ

    The Kroger Co. will be the first in the state of Oregon to deploy a fleet of heavy-duty trucks that run on liquid natural gas (LNG), the grocer announced Tuesday.

    These 40 new trucks, to replace 40 diesel trucks currently in use, are expected to start making store deliveries to Kroger-owned stores in the Portland metropolitan area by the end of 2014.

    Kroger officials said using natural gas fuel not only reduces operating costs for vehicles, but also reduces greenhouse gas emissions up to 23 percent in medium- to heavy-duty vehicles. "This is the first step in Kroger's effort to transition our fleet to alternative fuels," said Kevin Dougherty, Kroger's group VP and chief supply chain officer. "Converting to LNG trucks will allow us to reinvest savings into lower prices for our customers while also benefitting the environment."

    Year-round Operation

    The trucks will make deliveries to about 50 Fred Meyer and QFC stores as far south as Corvallis, Ore., and as far north as Longview, Wash., averaging some 175 miles per day, six days a week, all year. They are expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 755 metric tons per year, which equates to removing approximately 159 passenger cars from the road annually. The fleet will be fueled at a new, private LNG fueling station at Kroger's Clackamas Distribution Center, which will be designed and engineered by Clean Energy Fuels Corp.

    "These trucks are nearly identical to our diesel fleet, which allows us to have minimal impact on operations and still achieve the same caliber and standard of performance," said Matt Hoffman, Kroger regional logistics director, based in Portland. "They are truly the prototype truck of the future – the safest, cleanest and quietest way for our hard-working drivers to deliver product to the stores."

    Cincinnati-based Kroger operates 2,640 supermarkets and multidepartment stores in 34 states and the District of Columbia under two dozen local banner names including Kroger, City Market, Dillons, Food 4 Less, Fred Meyer, Fry's, Harris Teeter, Jay C, King Soopers, QFC, Ralphs and Smith's.

    By Jim Dudlicek, EnsembleIQ
    • About Jim Dudlicek As editor-in-chief of Progressive Grocer, Jim Dudlicek oversees daily operations of the magazine, spearheads its signature features, produces PG’s monthly Trend Alert newsletter on center store issues, moderates its regular webcast series, and writes and comments about a wide range of grocery issues. A food industry journalist since 2002, Jim came to PG in June 2010 after covering the dairy industry for 7½ years, during which time he served as chief editor of Dairy Field and Dairy Foods magazines. A graduate of Marquette University, Jim is fascinated by how truly progressive grocers inspire consumers to enjoy food, transforming the industry from mere merchants into educators that can take the most basic of all necessities and turn it into something profound and life-enhancing.

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