Path to a Greener Fleet
03/31/2022 · Newsroom Highlight
As we continue to grow our geographic footprint with new stores and a new distribution center, we’re committed to reducing our carbon footprint. One area where we we’re making meaningful strides is in our private fleet. With a focus on alternative fuels, electrification, and miles reduction, we’re eliminating the use of 1.25 million gallons of diesel annually. Here’s how:
Compressed Natural Gas
The use of compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles in our fleet isn’t new – we first introduced three CNG-fueled tractor trailers to our Pottsville, Pennsylvania, Retail Service Center fleet in January 2015. Two years later, we added 15 CNG trucks to our Rochester, New York, fleet.
“Our early model CNG trucks were everything we hoped they would be from a diesel reduction standpoint,” said Matt Harris, Wegmans sustainability manager for energy and fleet technology. “However, when compared to our diesel-powered trucks, it was clear that if we wanted to continue increasing the ratio of CNG trucks in our fleet, improvements in the trucks’ performance were needed.”
Our fleet team spent the next two-and-a-half years working with numerous partners to build a CNG-powered truck that offers the necessary power, performance, range, and driver comforts that would allow us to completely reimagine our fleet as diesel-free.
We added two CNG trucks to our Rochester fleet in 2020, and throughout 2022, the team is eliminating 49 diesel-powered trucks and replacing them with CNG trucks. The impact of those CNG trucks will change our footprint in Rochester from 80% diesel trucks to 80% natural gas trucks. With our existing 16 CNG trucks and the addition of 49 more, we’ll eliminate 1,140,000 gallons of diesel fuel annually.
Electric Yard Trucks
Our commitment to a greener fleet doesn’t stop at the tractor trailers customers are accustomed to seeing on the road. Getting those trailers and the products they’re hauling to our stores first requires the work of yard trucks, which are designed to move trailers on and off our warehouse docks with ease and efficiency.
The job of a yard truck is never done, operating nearly 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Last year, we took delivery of our first two fully electric yard trucks from Orange EV, the leading original equipment manufacturer (OEM) providing industrial fleets with heavy-duty electric vehicle solutions. At a top speed of 15 miles per hour, the yard trucks maneuver trailers around the yard, offering 20-plus hours of run time. In just four to six hours, they are fully recharged and ready for the next shift.
“The fully electric yard trucks are a great example of the importance of using electrification in the right application,” explains Matt. “With 20 hours of run time, they fit seamlessly into our operation, and each one eliminates 2,500 gallons of diesel fuel annually, not to mention the 85% reduction in maintenance they offer.”
In 2022, we are adding six more fully electric yard trucks between our operations in Pottsville and Rochester. Three are brand new trucks, while the remaining three are our existing diesel yard trucks that are being retrofitted with the electric technology. In total, the eight electric yard trucks will eliminate 20,000 gallons of diesel annually.
Reducing Food Miles
Across our seven-state footprint, we are committed to reducing food miles by partnering with local and regional farms and suppliers to provide the best-tasting food that is sustainably sourced on the east coast. One example of how we bring this commitment to life is our 200-acre Wegmans Organic Farm and Orchard, located in Canandaigua, New York.
At the Organic Farm and Orchard, we focus on meeting our customers’ desire for fresh, organic, and sustainably grown produce by increasing its availability on the east coast. To accomplish this, we’ve established a robust network of east coast growers and partners who have committed to growing organic produce for our stores. This allows us to reduce our environmental impact and minimize food miles. Last year alone, we avoided the use of 90,000 gallons of diesel by sourcing produce from our east coast Organic Farm partners.