MINNEAPOLIS — AmeriPride Services, which supplies linen and uniform rental services, has launched a pilot program that will test three new types of alternative fuel vehicles in an effort to positively impact the environment and assess the impact on the company’s overall operations.
Compressed natural gas (CNG), propane and plug-in electric vehicles are to be tested this fall and throughout the coming year.
“We have one of the largest fleets in the industry, so we have the capacity to put some resources toward reducing emissions while exploring the impact on fuel costs,” says Andrew Steiner, vice president of marketing and customer operations. “We feel it’s our responsibility to consider and pilot programs utilizing alternative fuel options and support the advancement of these new technologies.”
Compressed natural gas is a cleaner-burning fuel that is produced almost completely in the U.S., the company says. It produces less carbon emissions and lowers exposure to fuel price rate increases.
Five CNG trucks were deployed in Omaha, Neb., in August and five more in Oklahoma City in October. In Omaha, the Metropolitan Utilities District (MUD) is providing substantial discounts on fuel and has provided grant money to help offset the incremental ‘upfit’ costs, says AmeriPride.
AmeriPride is also testing five propane trucks in Topeka, Kan. The propane vehicles are expected to have less price volatility and lower vehicle costs than diesel. In addition, preliminary estimates would project a reduction of 17% in greenhouse gas emissions.
In 2014, electric trucks will be deployed in Los Angeles and Fresno, Calif. They are expected to have lower maintenance costs and zero gas emissions. In addition, AmeriPride is eligible for state and federal government financial incentives for the incremental upfront costs of the vehicles.
“This alternative fuel program is a part of a larger company initiative to reduce energy consumption and our carbon footprint,” Steiner says. “We’ve already replaced many of our cargo vans with fuel-efficient sedans and rerouted a majority of our service routes to reduce mileage. We’ve also incorporated better controls to reduce idling and speeding and implemented better training and communication with our drivers to increase awareness and promote behavioral change.”
AmeriPride also is rolling out double-decker semi-truck trailers that have twice as much cargo capacity and will greatly reduce fuel and emissions. The trucks have been deployed in Springfield, Mo., and will also be deployed in Syracuse, N.Y., and Memphis, Tenn., the company says.