Project delivers improved air quality, reduces dependence on traditional fuels, and helps the region adopt and understand alternative fuels and clean transportation technology.
Building on its longstanding commitment to environmental sustainability, multi-format food and fuel retailer Giant Eagle Inc. has unveiled its first two compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling stations in the Pittsburgh area at its Beechnut Drive retail support and distribution center.
At a press briefing, Giant Eagle officials demonstrated the new CNG technology by fueling one of the company’s brand new custom-equipped delivery trucks, as well as passenger vehicles at the area’s first publicly accessible CNG fueling station.
“We are dedicated to doing business in the most sustainable manner possible across all of our business operations,” said John Lucot, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Giant Eagle which has 170 corporate and 58 independently-owned and operated supermarkets in addition to 162 fuel and convenience stores throughout western Pennsylvania, Ohio, north central West Virginia and Maryland. “Our efforts have been greatly advanced with the help of others, and we give thanks to the local and state officials here today as well as to our allies at Volvo Trucks and EQT who partnered with us to make these facilities possible.”
“This project delivers improved air quality for the region through emissions reductions, reduces dependence on traditional fuels, and serves as a regional catalyst for southwestern Pennsylvania in adopting and understanding alternative fuels and clean transportation technology,” Lucot added.
According to data from the International Association for Natural Gas Vehicles, CNG typically is priced one-third below the cost of gasoline and diesel. In addition to cost savings, CNG reduces particulate matter emissions by 94%, carbon monoxide emissions by 75%, nitrogen oxide emissions by up to 49%, and carbon dioxide emissions by 25%.
In addition to the environmental benefits, commercial CNG vehicles run 50% quieter than diesel trucks. Giant Eagle’s 10 new CNG fleet vehicles will displace more than 100,000 gallons of diesel fuel during the fleet station’s first year of operation alone.
“Until now, there have been no viable alternative fuel options for heavy-duty delivery trucks with the necessary level of power required to navigate the region’s hilly and mountainous terrain,” said Giant Eagle Vice President of Logistics Bill Parry. “To continue evolving our environmentally friendly fleet, Giant Eagle worked closely with Volvo to design the 10 new CNG vehicles here today with an 8.9 liter Cummins engine as the first of their kind in the commercial transportation industry.”
Pennsylvania State officials hope the launch will help kick start greater commercial and consumer adoption of fuel technology that will benefit the environment and support Pennsylvania’s in-state natural gas industry.
“We have a great opportunity now to create future jobs with a new industry right here in Western Pennsylvania,” said Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato. “This is the first commercially viable CNG fueling station in southwestern Pennsylvania and we hope for many more to come.”
“Pennsylvania should be a leader in CNG expansion, and CNG-powered vehicles can become a big part of Pennsylvania’s clean air strategy,” said Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Mike Krancer. “Public-private partnerships like this one are helpful and can become a part of this effort, especially at this early stage. We should all look for opportunities for Pennsylvania to become a leader in the CNG fueling sector.”
CNG is sold in gasoline gallon equivalents (GGEs), with each GGE having the same energy content as a gallon of gasoline. Vehicles using CNG typically have similar fuel economy ratings to standard gasoline or diesel vehicles. Based on current market pricing, Giant Eagle will likely introduce the fuel for sale to consumers between $1.90 and $2.00 per GGE. The self-service station for passenger vehicles will be open 24/7 and will accept major credit cards. First time users of CNG can watch a video of how to properly fuel their CNG powered vehicle right at the station.