Looking to save money and be a little greener, Anhesuer-Busch is planning to switch out 66 of its diesel-powered large, heavy-duty semi trucks to using compressed natural gas. This move makes financial sense for the company and reduces C02 emissions. So everybody wins.
The fleet of 66 trucks operates in Texas bringing Anhesuer-Busch products to the farthest reaches of the state. These trucks routinely put 140,000 miles on during the year and are the workhorses of the Houston distribution center. They drop off the supplies to wholesalers who further distribute them. Switching this fleet to CNG computes to real-world savings in the range of $1.65M each year and cuts emissions by 2,000 tons.
Anhesuer-Busch was able to make the switch through a variety of reasons including a state subsidy, a request by Ryder to purchase the old trucks and Cummins new 12-L CNG engine. This trifecta of conditions got Anhesuer-Busch to start testing 2 trucks in their fleet to much success.
CNG is starting to have many benefits to fleets like Anhesuer-Busch with its expanded infrastructure for refueling and government subsidies to switch. As a fuel, it emits 23% less carbon dioxide than diesel with similar power output. Also, it helps reduce the demand on gasoline and diesel fuels that may ultimately cut our dependence on foreign oils and reduce fuel costs for the average American.
With Cummins building an effective 12-L heavy-duty engine, more fleets can consider making a change. This will likely occur with fleets who utilize a “hub and spoke” system whereby they make long back and forth trips. This is due to the lack of infrastructure. In the case of Anhesuer-Busch, their trucks return to the garage each night and the fueling station is just three miles away.
Ryder helped push Anhesuer-Busch to switch since they were looking to expand their natural gas leasing business. Plus, they can resale the old diesel trucks to other companies worldwide.
The plan to switch wasn’t without real-world costs. A new CNG truck costs $190,000 each which is an incredible $75,000 more than a diesel-powered truck. A Texas state subsidy grant of $45,000 per truck helps, but there are still some upfront costs which need to be overcome through significant fuel savings.
Currently, natural gas is about a $1 less than diesel fuel at the pump. Long-term these moves by Anhesuer-Busch will quickly payback the return on investment for switching, yet without the government subsidy; it would have probably been a much tougher sell.