The Chicago Area Clean Cities Coalition has announced its Top 5 Green Fleets for 2016, companies that are leading in the adoption of alternative fuels and clean-vehicle technologies for their fleets.
This year’s winners include: Alpha Baking Company, R&D Bus Company and Starfish Transportation of Chicago, Gold Standard Transportation of Crestwood, Ill., and DuPage County.
The Green Fleet Award winners were named at the coalition’s end of the year meeting. The awards are given annually to commercial or government fleets that take actions to reduce petroleum consumption and improve air quality, such as by using clean-burning alternative-fuel vehicles, electric vehicles or other advanced technologies.
“The fleets we’re recognizing range from using CNG to propane to electric vehicles, all with the goals of saving fuel, reducing emissions and saving money,” said John Walton, vice chairman of Chicago Area Clean Cities. “Alpha Baking, Starfish Transportation, Gold Standard Transportation, R&D Bus Company and DuPage County are terrific examples for others to follow and learn about the advantages of clean-vehicle technologies.”
The five 2016 Chicago Area Clean Cities Green Fleets include:
• Alpha Baking Company: Fifteen percent of Alpha Baking’s fleet uses alternative fuels — with 28 propane-fueled trucks and five all-electric trucks. Based in the Chicago, Alpha Baking supplies regional food stores and restaurants, fast food and local school systems. The company has 300-plus vehicles, 20 distribution centers located throughout the Midwest and six production plants – three in Chicago, one in La Porte, Ind., one in Grand Rapids, Mich., and one in Manitowoc, Wisc. “We couldn’t have made the switch to propane and electric without the assistance of Clean Cities,” said Bob McGuire, vice president and director of logistics for the company. “It’s been terrific for our company, our drivers, and our customers, and we’re very proud of our efforts to be a good corporate citizen. Not only do propane and electric-powered vehicles offer a ‘hedge’ or protection against high diesel prices, they run cleaner, and that is the right thing to do for the communities we serve.”
• DuPage County: The DuPage County Division of Transportation is responsible for the safe operation and maintenance of more than 950 lane-miles of arterial highways. The county’s fleet department maintains more than 440 county-owned vehicles of which 220 actively use alternate fuels. Alternative-fuel vehicles account for 50 percent of the fleet, including: 19 flex-fuel E-85 vehicles, 12 hybrids, 161 biodiesel vehicles, 27 CNG-powered vehicles, and one electric vehicle. Over the past five years, DuPage County has purchased an average of 21,000 therms of CNG, which is equivalent to 18,500 gallons of gasoline and also used an average of 100,000 gallons of biodiesel fuel. “We’re proud to be a government leader in taking voluntary, progressive actions to reduce diesel emissions and implement efficient vehicle technologies,” said Don Puchalski, chairman of the DuPage County Board’s Transportation Committee.
• Starfish Transportation: Chicago-based Starfish Transportation was founded in 2016 and provides safe, reliable school bus transportation in the Chicago area and surrounding suburbs. Currently, Starfish has 40 propane buses on order to add to their existing fleet. “With safety as our No. 1 priority, we believe that it best serves our clients and the community to transport students in clean air alternative-fuel vehicles,” said Steve Cordell, president, Starfish Transportation. Starfish’s fleet travels more than 7,200,000 miles in a year while transporting clients. Cordell said switching to alternative-fuel propane buses was an easy decision when factoring in the benefits of clean air to the communities that Starfish services and also travels through, as well as, the low cost of fuel and maintenance. “We are proud to be recognized by Chicago Area Clean Cities as a green fleet,” Cordell said.
• Gold Standard Transportation: Gold Standard Transportation is an asset-based, family-owned company, located in Crestwood, Ill. for more than 30 years. The transportation and logistics company operates primarily within the Midwest region. The company has a fleet of 10 CNG tractors that save more than 200,000 gallons of diesel fuel each year. “Our commitment to the environment is paramount,” said Eric Costantini, operations manager, Gold Standard Transportation. “We are happy to provide exceptional service and quality to our customers while doing so with as small a carbon footprint as possible.”
• R&D Bus Company: Founded in 1990, Chicago-based R&D Bus Company has a fleet of 90 school buses, 20 of which are powered by clean-burning propane. R&D’s team says its goal is to eventually convert its entire fleet to propane. R&D has provided bus service for Chicago Public Schools for 25 years, and also works with children’s museums, city colleges, the Forest Preserves of Cook County and various other customers throughout the Chicagoland area.
At the awards ceremony, the Clean Cities coalition also recognized the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP), the official regional planning organization for northeastern Illinois, as its 2016 Clean Fuels Champion for its work in seeking ways to improve air quality and alleviate congestion.