Golden Eagle Distributors Inc. hosted a green ribbon-cutting ceremony last week to celebrate the arrival of its first compressed natural gas fleet vehicle. Golden Eagle, in partnership with Ryder System Inc., is converting its entire heavy-duty fleet in Tucson, Ariz. to CNG vehicles by the end of 2011. Ryder executives, including Bobby Stewart, vice president of national sales, presented the vehicle to Golden Eagle executives including Christopher Clements, chief executive officer, and Kimberly Clements, president.
To support distribution operations in Tucson, Golden Eagle Distributor Inc., a Ryder full-service lease customer for 40 years, has agreed to lease 23 CNG vehicles. Through this effort, Golden Eagle will be converting its entire 23-vehicle delivery fleet in Tucson to CNG vehicles by the end of 2011. The vehicles are part of a strategic alternative fuel program at Golden Eagle focused on reducing transportation-generated emissions and reducing fuel costs. CNG vehicles produce 95 percent less particulate matter and 80 percent less nitrogen oxide, and provide a reduction of 23 percent in greenhouse gas emissions when compared to diesel engines, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
“We are always looking for ways to reduce our carbon footprint, and with diesel fuel prices continuing to rise, the timing was right to convert our Tucson fleet to natural gas vehicles,” says Christopher Clements. “We could not have implemented this project without Ryder. We rely on their expertise when it comes to evaluating new technologies, such as alternative fuels. Ryder has helped us find an alternative fuel that is not only cleaner and better for the environment, but we also expect to see real fuel cost savings over time.”
“We are proud to be such a longstanding partner and thank Golden Eagle for trusting us with their business for 40 years,” says Robert Sanchez, president of Global Fleet Management Solutions for Ryder. “We are committed to continuing to provide Golden Eagle with innovative transportation solutions, such as natural gas vehicles, which not only help them achieve their sustainability goals, but also enable them to realize meaningful cost-saving and efficiency benefits.”
The Tucson fleet conversion is the first part of a bigger CNG plan that Golden Eagle is embarking on over the next several years. Over time, Golden Eagle will convert all fleet vehicles to CNG in their six branch operations throughout the state. Then light-duty passenger vehicles will be changed over to CNG in each branch. To service their CNG fleet, Golden Eagle is working toward opening their own CNG fuel stations in Tucson and then at several other branch locations, including Casa Grande and Buckeye. Last spring, Golden Eagle purchased an acre of land adjacent to the headquarters property in Tucson; that land will be used for a CNG fueling station.