Safeway switches Calif. truck fleet to biodiesel
Grocer retailer Safeway Inc. said Monday it has completed the conversion of its entire California and U.S. truck fleet of more than 1,000 vehicles to biodiesel fuel.
The Pleasanton, Calif.-based firm said the conversion program will annually eliminate nearly 40,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions formerly produced by the fleet — the equivalent of removing nearly 7,500 passenger vehicles from the roads.
Biodiesel, made through several distinct and different processes, is typically made from vegetable oil or animal fats. While able to power vehicles on its own, biodiesel is more commonly blended with conventional diesel fuel. Biodegradable and non-toxic, pure biodiesel typically generates about 60 percent less carbon dioxide emissions when burned as fuel. This number drops when it is blended. Many carmakers do not support the use of more than 5 percent biodiesel in their diesel vehicles, while several support varying biodiesel/conventional diesel blend maximums. Several automobile manufacturers, including Volkswagen and Scania, offer cars that will run on 100 percent biodiesel fuel.
Safeway's biodiesel program is one component of the firm's overall Greenhouse Gas Reduction Initiative seeking to minimize the retailer's environmental impacts. Other programs include the use of solar power, wind power, alternative fuels and 'green' building construction strategies to reduce the firm's total carbon emissions.
The retailer has also committed to baseline fuel efficiencies for its fleet as set down by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s SmartWay Transportation Partnership. Portions of Safeway's EPA program, such as purchasing trailers with larger capacity, have resulted in a net annual savings of more than 6.5 million gallons of diesel fuel.
Safeway is the nation's second-largest supermarket chain, reporting $40.6 billion in revenue from its 1,750 stores throughout the western and central United States and western Canada.