Central Freight Lines (CFL), a less-than-truckload (LTL) for-hire common carrier, has announced its intention to test 15 new compressed natural gas-powered Peterbilt tractors under a grant from the Houston-Galveston Area Council (HGAC). This latest in a series of steps the carrier said it is taking to help protect the environment and foster the use of domestic fuel sources could lead to an addition of 200 natural-gas tractors in CFL’s south Texas market.
“The opportunity to test natural gas tractors is part our effort to help improve air quality in the areas where we operate,” said Don Orr, president & CEO of CFL. “In the past few years, we have been consistently replacing power units with newer emissions-compliant engines, and adding other environmentally friendly equipment such as propane-powered forklifts. With the Houston-Galveston Area Council’s backing we can fully evaluate how natural-gas tractors will help further our goals and help fight air pollution in some of the major metropolitan areas we serve, including Houston, which has higher air pollution levels than most large cities in the country.
“We are firm believers in using domestically produced fuels like natural gas to help reduce consumption of foreign oil,” Orr added. “Natural gas-powered tractors support U.S. energy producers, including many in our home state of Texas. In addition, many of those companies and their suppliers are our customers.”
The new CNG-fueled tractors joining the CFL fleet will be used for local P&D in the Houston-Galveston service area where a natural gas fueling infrastructure is available. The higher up front cost of the engines, Orr noted, will be returned to the company in the significantly lower cost of natural gas. Currently, natural gas prices are about half (on a per gallon-equivalency) that of on-highway diesel fuel.
The 15 new tractors that will be added to the CFL fleet are 2013 Peterbilt 384 4X2 tractors. They will be equipped with an Agility 75 DGE back-of-cab CNG Fueling System (75 gal. diesel equivalent). Specs for the tractors include a Cummins Westport ISL-G 320/2200 engine and Allison 3000 Highway Series transmission.
Privately owned and operated, CFL operates 1,600 tractors and 8,000 trailers from 51 terminals throughout the Southwest. www.centralfreight.com