Chicago Clean Cities Recognizes Alt-Fuel Fleets, Clean Air Efforts


In its latest announcement, the Chicago Area Clean Cities (CACC) Coalition has recognized five companies and the regional planning organization for northeastern Illinois for their efforts in promoting the adoption of alternative fuels, deploying clean vehicle technologies in their fleets, and seeking ways to improve air quality and emissions-reduction projects.

As reported, the CACC recognized Alpha Baking Co., R&D Bus Co., Starfish Transportation of Chicago, Gold Standard Transportation of Crestwood, Ill. and DuPage County as the “Top 5 Green Fleets for 2016.”

According to the CACC, these awards are given annually to commercial or government fleets that take actions to reduce petroleum consumption and improve air quality, such as by using alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs), including compressed natural gas (CNG) options, 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,” says John Walton, vice chairman of the CACC. “Alpha Baking, Starfish Transportation, Gold Standard Transportation, R&D Bus Co. and DuPage County are terrific examples for others to follow and learn about the advantages of clean vehicle technologies.”

The coalition says that 15% of Alpha Baking’s fleet uses alternative fuels – with 28 propane-fueled trucks and five all-electric trucks. Based in Chicago, Alpha Baking supplies regional food stores and restaurants, fast food, and local school systems.

“We couldn’t have made the switch to propane and electric without the assistance of Clean Cities,” says Bob McGuire, vice president and director of logistics for the company. “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.”

The fleet department of the DuPage County Division of Transportation maintains more than 440 county-owned vehicles, of which 220 actively use alternative fuels. AFVs account for 50% 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 and also used an average of 100,000 gallons of biodiesel fuel.

Starfish Transportation, which provides school bus transportation services in the Chicago area and surrounding suburbs, currently has 40 propane buses on order to add to its existing fleet.

Steve Cordell, president of Starfish Transportation, says 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.

Gold Standard Transportation, an asset-based, family-owned company located in Crestwood, Ill., 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,” says Eric Costantini, operations manager for 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 Co., which provides bus service for Chicago Public Schools and works with various other Chicagoland customers, has a fleet of 90 school buses, 20 of which are powered by propane. R&D’s team says its goal is to eventually convert its entire fleet to propane.

The Clean Cities coalition also recognized the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP), the official regional planning organization for northeastern Illinois, for its work in seeking ways to improve air quality and alleviate congestion. Other recent award recipients include Testa Produce, Ozinga Bros. and Trillium CNG.

The CMAP agency also oversees the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program, which has funded several alternative fuel and diesel emissions reduction projects, including the Drive Clean Chicago Program, Chicago-area alternative fueling stations for municipalities, the Chicago-area Green Fleets Grant Program, and the Indiana Harbor Belt CNG Railroad Project.

“The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning is one of the most impactful regional planning agencies in the country,” says Samantha Bingham, coordinator for the CACC. “They are a leader of clean-vehicle, clean-air and congestion-mitigation projects for our region, and we’re proud to name CMAP as our 2016 Clean Fuels Champion. Their leadership and willingness to support Clean Cities’ mission to reduce emissions and improve air quality has been a catalyst for clean transportation solutions.”

Photo courtesy of Chicago Clean Cities: Chicago-based Alpha Baking Co. has 28 propane-fueled trucks and five all-electric trucks, with many of the vehicles operating under its S. Rosen Baking Co. brand, which has been serving Chicago since 1909.

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