Ryder System, Inc. hasannounced that Eagle Distributing of Shreveport, Inc., has signed a full-service lease agreement for 23 compressed natural gas (CNG) tractors. Eagle is an Anheuser-Busch distributor in northwestern Louisiana and Ryder’s first natural gas lease customer in Louisiana. The CNG tractors will replace nearly all of Eagle’s existing diesel-powered delivery fleet. With natural gas vehicles available for lease and rental in markets in California, Arizona, and Michigan, Ryder now adds Shreveport, La., as its newest market with a natural gas vehicle offering. Ryder will also provide maintenance for the 23 CNG vehicles from Ryder’s Shreveport service facility, which is being upgraded for compliance with natural gas standards.
The CNG vehicles are part of a strategic initiative by Eagle to reduce its carbon footprint and control fuel costs. “By changing out these 23 vehicles, Eagle will cut its greenhouse gas emissions from its current 878 tons down to 670 tons, which will be a reduction of 24 percent,” says Doug Jones, Operations Manager for Eagle. “We are also changing out smaller fleet vehicles to CNG. We are committed and will continue to change out more vehicles this year and in the years to come until all our vehicles are converted to CNG,” he added.
“As a socially responsible company, we wanted to look at our fleet options not only from a cost perspective, but also as a good neighbor to our customers and the communities we serve,” says Brad Nichols, President of Eagle. “These advanced technology compressed natural gas vehicles work as well as their diesel counterparts and produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions. With the availability and planned growth of natural gas fueling infrastructure in our service area in Louisiana, we believe CNG vehicles will continue to gain momentum as an environmentally beneficial and cost-competitive alternative.”
Ryder’s leased vehicles will be used to make deliveries throughout Eagle’s service territory of nine parishes in Northwest Louisiana. Eagle is also currently exploring plans to build a natural gas fueling station near its headquarters in Shreveport.
Eagle was founded in June 1992 by Robert and Pam Nichols as a family-owned and locally operated company. The company is a wholesale distributor of beer, wine, liquor and non- alcohol products with a territory covering the parishes of Caddo, Claiborne, Bienville, Bossier, Desoto, Natchitoches, Red River, Webster, and Winn. Eagle distributes the famous Anheuser-Busch InBev brands that include the Budweiser, Michelob, Busch, and Natural brand families of beers, as well as a number of other import, craft, and non-alcohol products.
“Over the last several years, we’ve seen an increasing number of companies not only seek alternatives to reduce and control fuel costs, but also to help them control their carbon output and meet their environmental objectives,” says Dennis Cooke, President of Fleet Management Solutions at Ryder. “We pride ourselves on listening to the needs of the marketplace and developing the solutions that will help drive the industry forward.”