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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."
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.