Matheson Trucking, Inc., a U.S. freight company and contracted provider to United States Postal Service, has added 37 natural gas powered tractors to its fleet as part of a companywide clean energy expansion program designed to improve air quality, lower greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) and to decrease diesel fuel consumption on routes served by the Matheson Postal Services Division.
“With annual fleet distances driven totaling nearly 36 million miles, combining peak and non-peak times, we continue to search for ways to reduce our carbon footprint and GHG emissions to enhance the environment,” according to Debra White, vice president, Information Technology and Fleet Maintenance for Matheson Trucking, Inc. “We’re not doing this just to meet EPA clean air and state emissions standards, it’s the right thing to do.”
The new CNG Kenworth T680 tractors will serve Matheson Postal Services Division’s routes for transporting U.S. Mail from Boise, Seattle and Salt Lake City. The company has already deployed 17 CNG Kenworth T680’s in Boise, ID. and is in the process of taking delivery of eight additional CNG T680 sleeper cabs for its Los Angeles to Seattle runs.
The deployed CNG tractors include five, three-axle sleepers; 10, three-axle day cabs, and two, single-axle day cabs. These tractors pull a mix of trailers in Boise, with most in the 53-foot long category, used to transport U.S. Postal Service mail along designated routes.
“We plan to increase our inventory of green CNG tractors in the fleet wherever it is practical and cost effective to do so, and while diesel may still have an edge on long-haul routes, Matheson wants to move in a positive, responsible direction by becoming less dependent on fossil fuel,” said Joshua Matheson, vice president of operations.
Kenworth LNG-powered T880 day-cab tractors will be used to transport U.S. Mail by Matheson Postal Services Division.
“Matheson is well underway toward achieving its goal of utilizing alternative technology and/or alternative fuels, said White. “We partnered with Kenworth, Agility Fuel Systems and Clean Energy Fuels Corporation to spec the most fuel-efficient tractors possible as well as to expand the network of natural gas fueling stations across the U.S. With the introduction of these new CNG and LNG tractors, Matheson estimates this will decrease the company’s diesel fuel consumption by 718,468 gallons per year,” said White.
Matheson’s Sacramento Maintenance Manager Daniel Shandy noted that benefits associated with using CNG fuel include reduced CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions, with no need for Diesel Oxidation Catalyst (DOC), Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF), or a Selective Catalyst Reductions System (SCR). Matheson’s CNG tractors produce far less air pollution, virtually no smoke from the exhaust, as well as greater ease of maintenance.
“What is really impressive to me is that CNG-powered tractors are incredibly quiet with a decibel level that is really low,” Shandy said.
Jason Criner, Matheson’s Boise shop manager and a certified CNG cylinder and fuel system inspector (CNG-FSI), observed that in the event of an accident with tank damage, gas vaporizes into the atmosphere eliminating the need for an oil spill cleanup and increasing the safety margin for drivers and local communities.
“With a conservative range of 704 miles on a full tank, these CNG tractors are ideal for shorter routes where refueling may not be required for a roundtrip. However, both Boise and Salt Lake are within the range of local fueling companies which makes these regions a great place to start deploying CNG-fueled tractors,” Criner added.
The first 17 CNG tractors were assembled in July 2015 at Kenworth’s 300,000 square foot plant in Chillicothe, Ohio, and then shipped to Fontana, California, where Agility Fuel Systems outfits them with natural gas tanks, hoses and related apparatus. According to Mike Graft, marketing manager with Agility, it takes only two to three days per tractor to make the CNG conversion.
Agility Fuel Systems and Clean Energy Fuels Corporation are NGV Global sponsor members.
(Source: Matheson Trucking, Inc.)