Food is now arriving at grocery store shelves across the East Coast with a smaller carbon footprint, thanks to the recent purchase by SuperValu of nearly three dozen Class 8 Volvo trucks that operate on compressed natural gas (CNG).
The fleet, which operates out of SuperValu’s Mechanicsville, Va., distribution center and currently serves 500 grocery stores in Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia, Washington, D.C. and North Carolina, is said to be the largest private fleet of its kind in the Mid-Atlantic region.
To power the new trucks, Trillium CNG, built and will operate a fast-fill CNG station at SuperValu’s Mechanicsville distribution center. The conversion to natural gas will reduce the fleet’s annual oil consumption by more than a million gallons and result in 1,300 fewer tons of greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, the new CNG fleet and fast-fill station is expected to reduce the chain’s operating costs given the lower cost of compressed natural gas.
The fill station is the first of two Trillium stations planned in the Richmond, Va., area. The second is under construction at GRTC Transit System, the public transit agency jointly owned by the City of Richmond and Chesterfield County, and is expected to be operational in three to four months. By the end of the second quarter 2014, Trillium CNG will be operating 81 CNG stations nationwide, with 54 of them having public access.
Volvo Trucks designed the new trucks specifically to meet SuperValu’s grocery hauling needs, and each features the latest innovations in clean-burning compressed natural gas. The trucks were all built at Volvo’s Dublin, Va., plant, where all of the company’s North American vehicles are constructed.