- Wegmans has added two compressed natural gas (CNG) trucks, which come equipped with near-zero NOx emissions Cummins engines, to its fleet of vehicles as part of its new partnership with Hyliion, the company announced in a press release last Thursday. One of the Volvo CNG trucks holds a Hyliion Hybrid CNG system, which allows it to pull tandem trailer sets — a task previously only possible with Wegmans’ diesel vehicles.
- With the new Hyliion partnership, Wegmans has 19 CNG trucks in operation, out of a total of almost 175 trucks overall. The CNG trucks can stay in service between two to five years longer than diesel vehicles, and the newest CNG trucks offer a 30% increase in fuel capacity over older trucks, to a fuel capacity equivalent to diesel.
- The addition of CNG trucks to Wegmans’ fleet is part of the company’s long-term strategy to reduce its carbon footprint, which has seen a more than 10% reduction in its emissions since 2014.
Wegmans’ newest hybrid Volvo truck — fitted with a Hyliion Hybrid CNG system, which provides enough torque and horsepower for it to pull a tandem trailer set — could act as a model for grocery distribution vehicles as the chain moves away from diesel. The CNG trucks, compared to their diesel equivalent, produce less carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide and equate to 65% fuel cost savings per truck over their time in operation.
Several major grocery chains, including Wegmans, have committed to reducing their carbon emissions, including in their distribution processes. Last month, Ahold Delhaize announced its plans to cut its emissions by 50% by 2030 to minimize its impact on the climate. It also announced this summer it invested $180 million into renewable energy installations, energy-efficient equipment, solar panels at distribution centers and more.
Tesla Semis, fully electric vehicles promising a range of 500 miles with a single charge, have also attracted grocers. Albertsons ordered 10 to its Southern California fleet and Walmart ordered 40 as part of its plan to have its Canadian operations rely exclusively on alternative power by this year.
According to Nielson, 66% of shoppers will pay more for sustainable brands, and that statistic goes up among younger consumers. Proactive steps to address not only food waste, but also the company’s carbon footprint, make for positive marketing. To promote its sustainability efforts, Wegmans has a page on its website detailing its work. In addition to the new CNG trucks, the company has sought to reduce refrigerant emissions with its in-store technology, shifted to more sustainable packaging using plant-based renewable fiber and pledged to reduce food waste 50% by 2030.