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Grocery Store Chain Unveils Natural Gas Powered Truck Fleet and Fill Station

Food is now arriving at grocery store shelves across the East Coast with a smaller carbon footprint, thanks to the recent purchase by Supervalu Inc. of 35 Class 8 Volvo trucks that operate on compressed natural gas (CNG).

Grocery Store Chain Unveils Natural Gas Powered Truck Fleet and Fill Station

The fleet, which operates out of the company’s Mechanicsville, Va., distribution center and currently serves approximately 500 grocery stores in Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia, Washington, D.C. and North Carolina, is reportedly the largest private fleet of its kind in the Mid-Atlantic region.

To power the new trucks, Trillium CNG, a provider of compressed natural gas fueling solutions, built and will operate a fast-fill CNG station at the Mechanicsville distribution center. The conversion to natural gas is expected to reduce the fleet’s annual oil consumption by more than 1 million gallons and result in 1,300 fewer tons of greenhouse gas emissions. In addition to the environmental benefits, the new CNG fleet and fast-fill station is expected to reduce Supervalu’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 expects to be operating 81 CNG stations nationwide, with 54 of them having public access.

Volvo Trucks designed the new trucks specifically to meet Supervalu’s needs, and each features the latest innovations in clean-burning compressed natural gas. The trucks were built at Volvo’s Dublin, Va., plant, where all of the company's North American vehicles are constructed.

Supervalu operates 20 distribution centers across the United States and has slightly more than 400 trucks in its national company-owned fleet, excluding its Save-A-Lot network that operates separately. The Mechanicsville distribution center has a total of 105 tractors in its fleet, and has set a goal of converting approximately 65 percent of its total fleet to natural gas by 2015.

Source: Supervalu Inc.

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