Deutsche Post DHL and Ryder System are rolling out electric, hybrid and natural gas trucks, from delivery vans to heavy vehicles, in New York and California.
The green truck purchases by two large transportation companies underscore growing commercial interest in alternative fuels as diesel prices rise.
The companies announced their green truck orders a day after President Obama called on federal agencies to purchase more alternative-fuel vehicles.
Both companies have significant sustainability programs under way. However, the latest green truck purchases kick those programs up to a new level.
DHL will introduce all-electric and hybrid delivery trucks in New York this year. By September, DHL's New York fleet will include 30 electric vans and 50 hybrids.
Those trucks will cut fossil fuel use and reduce carbon emissions 50 percent compared with conventional diesel or gasoline-powered models, DHL said.
The green trucks are part of Deutsche Post DHL's global GoGreen strategy, which aims to cut DHL carbon emissions 30 percent from 2007 through 2025.
Deutsche Post DHL CEO Frank Appel firmly tied sustainability to profitability.
"As customers worldwide are increasingly demanding greener logistics, sustainable business procedures and initiatives like the one we are launching today will -- at the same time -- also enhance the profitability of our business," Appel said.
On the West Coast, Ryder ordered more than 200 natural gas-powered heavy trucks -- including 182 Freightliner M2-112 tractors powered by Cummins engines.
That is the largest heavy-duty natural gas truck order to date for Freightliner, which introduced the M2-112 with the Cummins ISL-G natural gas engine in 2009.
The vehicles will use either liquefied or compressed natural gas.
The order is part of a natural-gas truck rental and leasing project Ryder is launching with the San Bernardino Associated Governments in Southern California.
Ryder will get its first trucks in April, and expects to have them all running by September, about the time DHL's New York delivery fleet is in full swing.
When fully implemented, the Southern California natural gas project will displace more than 1.5 million gallons of diesel a year and create more than 400 jobs.
The SANBAG project will eliminate about 9.2 million pounds of greenhouse gas emissions, more than 131 tons of nitrogen oxide emissions and 2.65 tons of diesel particulate emissions a year, Ryder and the local government organization said.
As part of an energy security speech Wednesday, President Obama ordered U.S. agencies to buy only non-petroleum-fueled vehicles by 2015.
Alternative fuels will get another boost from the president Friday, when he visits a UPS facility in Landover, Md., to view green trucks from UPS and FedEx.
-- Contact William B. Cassidy at email@example.com.