Keep On Trucking Sustainably
Keeping all of our supercenters fully stocked to meet our customers’ needs is a major logistical operation.
We operate a fleet of 250 semi-trucks that, collectively, cover an estimated 25 million miles each year. But while we want to provide the best shopping experience for our customers, we also want to be a good neighbor. That’s why we made sure our fleet utilized innovative technology to improve fuel efficiency and reduce its carbon footprint by nearly 60 percent, making ours the first in North America to implement the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s 2010 near-zero emissions standards.
We achieved this goal with a new fleet of “clean diesel” vehicles that utilize selective catalytic reduction (SCR) technology. This technology injects a liquid-reductant agent, known as Urea or Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF), through a special catalyst into the exhaust stream of the truck’s diesel engine. The DEF breaks down the polluting elements, converting nitrogen oxides into nitrogen, water and small amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2), which is then expelled through the vehicle tailpipe. Our Meijer Fleet has also been a SmartWay partner since 2005. The EPA SmartWay program is an important element of our logistics strategy.
The technology has produced a dramatic improvement. In fact, one of our new clean diesel semi-trucks has the same emissions as 47 of our previous vehicles while our fleet’s total fuel economy is about 20 percent more fuel efficient than the national industry average. Over 5 years, we’ll see fuel savings equivalent to 69,863 barrels of oil.
The challenge now is to further improve. Already 82 trucks in our fleet meet the EPA’s 2014 clean emissions standards, and we have one prototype test truck that meets 2017 stands with 33 more on order. As Tom McCall, Vice President of Logistics explains: “If you really work at it you can be green and profitable.”
Additionally, emission improvements have been adopted with our refrigerated trailers, and we are testing three hybrid electric/diesel cooling units. Once parked at the store or warehouse, they can be switched from the diesel engine over to electric using power from the buildings. This reduces operating noise, as well as pollution from the diesel fuel.
Meijer is also adopting new technologies to make our trucks and trailers safer for the drivers and others on the road. Anti-lock disc brakes with stability control allow shorter stopping distances and rollover protection. A significant portion of our fleet utilizes collision mitigation technology that automatically stops the truck if it senses an impending collision. This is our standard for future truck and trailer orders.