Daily Management Review

Hundreds Of Trucks Powered By Natural Gas Ordered By Amazon


With the United States based online retailer Amazon.com Inc trying to find out ways to reduce carbon emission in its fleet of trucks in the country, the company has ordered hundreds of trucks that run on compressed natural, the company has said.
There has been a huge surge in deliveries with the rise in online shopping during the Covid-19 pandemic and truck volumes have surpassed 2019 levels on the average while there has been a drop in passenger car traffic. But with increase in activity of truck on the road there is more pollution with higher levels of greenhouse gases compared to passenger vehicles being emitted by heavier duty trucks used in transportation of goods.
And in order to reduce their share of carbon emission, transportation companies are trying to build up their fleet of electric vehicles. Medium and heavy duty trucks make up much of the freight delivery system with the United States and the emission form these vehicles makes up about 20 per cent of the total greenhouse gas emissions of the transportation industry even though these delivery trucks account for less than 5 per cent of the total vehicles on the road, according to US federal data.
"Amazon is excited about introducing new sustainable solutions for freight transportation and is working on testing a number of new vehicle types including electric, CNG and others," the company said in a statement.
According to Amazon, it has so far placed orders for more than 700 compressed natural gas class 6 and class 8 trucks for its fleet.
In 2020, there was a 38 per cent growth in the US in Amazon’s sales and the company has set a target of becoming carbon neutral by 2040.
Amazon's heavy duty trucks that are used to carry goods from the company’s warehouses to distribution centers will be using the new engines that will be supplied by a joint venture between Cummins Inc and Vancouver-based Westport Fuel Systems Inc. According to reports quoting source knowledge, these engines, more than 1,000 of which have been ordered by the company, is able to run on both renewable and non-renewable natural gas.
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, about 27 per cent less carbon dioxide is emitted by natural gas when it is burned to power vehicles in comparison to diesel fuel. 
However, use of electric powered motors in heavy duty trucks is considered to be less viable compared to its usage in average passenger vehicles.
100,000 electric vans from startup Rivian Automotive LLC were ordered by Amazon in 2019. The company is set to get delivery of the first of those vans this year and those vehicles would be used for last-mile delivery to customers. For its European delivery fleet, 1,800 electric vans from Mercedes-Benzhas also been ordered by the company.
Ways to reduce carbon emissions are also being tried out by other transportation companies.
It is possible to use both RNG and natural gas derived from fossil fuel interchangeably because both are methane gases.