Estes partners with Clean Energy to expand natural-gas vehicle fleet

Estes Truck
Estes Express Lines is adding 50 new RNG-fueled trucks to its fleet, bringing the company’s total number of clean-energy trucks to 71. (Courtesy: Estes Express Lines)

RICHMOND, Va., and NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. — Estes Express Lines has announced it will add to its fleet 50 new trucks fueled with Clean Energy Fuels Corp.’s Redeem renewable natural gas (RNG), bringing the company’s total of RNG-powered trucks to 71.

“Switching to trucks fueled with ultra-low carbon fuel is vital to improving air quality and fighting climate change in the regions that we serve,” said Rob Estes, president and CEO of Estes. “Clean Energy’s Zero Now program has enabled us to switch to cleaner fuel and engine technologies that make financial sense, so it’s a win on several levels.”

Estes, the nation’s largest privately owned freight transportation carrier, is acquiring the Class 8 natural gas trucks, which are equipped with the Cummins Westport ultra-clean ISX12N engine, for its California fleet, and is expected to use an approximate 2.8 million gallons of RNG over the seven-year contract.

Clean Energy’s Redeem was the first commercially available RNG vehicle fuel, derived from capturing the biogenic methane produced by the decomposition of organic waste from dairies, landfills and wastewater treatment plants. According to Clean Energy, Redeem reduces climate-harming greenhouse gas emissions by at least 70%, and even up to 300%, depending on the source of the RNG.

“By adding 50 clean, sustainable natural gas trucks to its fleet, Estes demonstrates their leadership in the drive to lower the carbon footprint by the heavy-duty trucking industry,” said Brett Lindsay, vice president of Clean Energy. “With the support of our Zero Now program, Estes has been able to easily and quickly switch a growing number of their trucks to RNG, significantly decreasing the environmental impact of their operations.”

Estes purchased the trucks through Clean Energy’s Zero Now program, which brings the price of a natural gas truck on a par with a diesel truck — while offering a guaranteed fuel discount for the duration of the agreement. For Estes, this represents a geographical expansion of its current fleet of 21 ultra-clean trucks, also fueled by Redeem, that are operating out of Texas.

“Transitioning to natural gas has allowed Estes to set a new standard for the trucking industry on how to be operationally successful,” said Mike Palmer, vice president of fleet services for Estes. “The trucks are performing well.”

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