At Schwan's Company, we operate one of the larger privately held fleets in the United States with approximately 5,000 delivery vehicles and more than 60 long-haul trucks. We increase efficiency and reduce emissions by:
- Using alternative fuels.
- Seeking innovative methods for engineering our vehicles.
- Participating in the U.S. Department of Energy's Clean Cities program.
Implementing Alternative Fuels
We have been using cleaner-burning propane in our home-delivery fleet for more than 40 years. Currently, more than 70 percent of our 4,300 home-delivery trucks operate on liquid propane gas which has both economic and environmental benefits. In 2015, the use of propane rather than diesel allowed us to avoid the emission of more than 15,309 tons of greenhouse gases.
Engineering Our Fleet for Efficiency
Our team is incorporating trucks that are about 6,000 pounds lighter into our home-delivery fleet for a 36 percent improvement in fuel economy. The new trucks are being phased in over time and currently comprise about 40 percent of the home-delivery fleet. Our other efficiency techniques include:
- Automatic shutdown on our trucks.
- Using cold-plate technology rather than diesel power to keep foods frozen efficiently with our home-delivery fleet.
- Optimizing temperatures in diesel-powered, retail-delivery trucks for an 8 percent reduction in fuel used by refrigeration units.
Engineering Our Routes for Efficiency
Our fleet teams have also re-engineered sales routes to make them more efficient. Re-engineered home-delivery routes led to an additional decrease of 22,753 tons of greenhouse gases and reduced total miles traveled by more than 10 percent.
For the Long Haul
We have invested significantly in adding plug-in stations at distribution centers in Kansas and Minnesota. This enables us to use refrigerated trailers that can run on electricity when parked to avoid burning diesel fuel, saving about a gallon per hour. In 2015, the company replaced 40 semitrailers with refrigeration units capable of using electrical power when parked. We also install “skirts” on all of our long-haul semitrailers to help reduce wind resistance and increase fuel efficiency.