Matheson Trucking Inc. has added 25 new compressed natural gas (CNG) and 12 liquefied natural gas (LNG) tractors to its fleet. Company officials say it’s part of a program to improve air quality, lower greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) and 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,” said Debra White, vice president of information technology and fleet maintenance for Matheson Trucking. “We’re not doing this just to meet EPA clean air and state emissions standards, it’s the right thing to do.”
Driving 36 million fleet miles is like going around the globe 1,440 times or making 150 trips to and from the earth to the moon — a distance of 238,855 miles one way.
The company introduced 12 LNG Kenworth T880 daycabs in Oakland, Calif., in January and has completed the deployment of 17 CNG Kenworth T680’s in Boise, Ida. Matheson is in the process of taking delivery of eight additional CNG T680 sleeper cabs for its Los Angeles (LAX) to Seattle (SEA) runs.
The CNG tractors destined for Boise include five three-axle sleepers, 10 three-axle daycabs, and two single-axle daycabs. 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.
Last March and April, Matheson also acquired 22 fuel-efficient diesel Kenworth T680 sleepers for use in Seattle, and is currently deploying 24 additional diesel Kenworth T680 sleepers for use on a variety of the firm’s Salt Lake City routes — for a total of 46 new diesel tractors purchased in 2015.
“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.
Together these new vehicles bring the company’s tractor fleet total across all divisions to 262, excluding any rental tractors the company has in its nationwide network.
“Matheson is well underway toward achieving its goal of utilizing alternative technology and/or alternative fuels. We are a 98 percent Kenworth shop, with a few Freightliners and International tractors still in the fleet,” said White. “We partnered with Kenworth, Agility Fuel Systems and Clean Energy Fuels Corp. 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.
Jason Criner, Matheson’s Boise shop manager and a certified CNG cylinder and fuel system inspector, said, “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.