Company:     Alpha Baking Company, Inc.        

Industry:        National Bakery Products Manufacturer and Distributor

Location:       Chicago, Illinois

Vehicles:       2013 Ford E-450 stepvan delivery trucks (22)

Fueling:          Two 1,000-gallon onsite propane autogas refueling station

Challenge

To replace aging delivery trucks fueled by conventional diesel with a sustainable, readily available alternative energy.

Background

In 2005, Alpha Baking Company Inc., began testing alternative fuels to power its fleet of delivery trucks. To find the ideal fuel for their needs, the company established a corporate criteria through which they evaluated multiple alternative fuel sources: provide a reliable fuel supply, be backed by maintenance support, and maintain the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) warranty. The company tested many transportation fuels, including hydrogen injection, biodiesels, waste vegetable oil and propane autogas vapor injection.

Delivering on its Goals

A national bakery products distributor and home to the iconic S. Rosen’s brand, Alpha Baking is leading the charge in its industry to incorporate domestic alternative fuels. In April 2013, the company introduced 22 propane autogas trucks into its fleet. Alpha Baking selected the propane autogas powered Ford E-450 from ROUSH CleanTech due to the company’s fuel system technology and market reputation.

ROUSH CleanTech delivered a vehicle platform that met the company’s criteria:

  1. Fueled by abundant, reliable propane autogas. Ninety percent of the United States propane autogas supply is produced domestically, reducing dependence on foreign oil sources.
  2. Provided service and support. The ROUSH CleanTech liquid propane autogas fuel system can be maintained using standard Ford diagnostic equipment, and a network of hundreds of ROUSH CleanTech service centers exist across the nation.
  3. Backed by OEM warranty. ROUSH CleanTech is a Tier 1 supplier and a Ford Qualified Vehicle Modifier (QVM), meaning each ROUSH CleanTech vehicle maintains the full factory Ford warranty. The vehicles also offer the identical horsepower, torque and towing capacity as their gasoline counterparts.

“After much research and testing, we decided to integrate clean-burning propane autogas into our fleet,” said Bob McGuire, Alpha Baking’s vice president and director of logistics. “The technology is here, and it is the right thing to do. It is better for the environment, it is good for the economy, and it reduces our dependency on foreign oil”

Emissions-Reducing Benefits

The fleet of propane autogas trucks will save the company about 2.3 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions over the truck’s 250,000-mile lifetime. Alpha Baking wrapped the vehicles to display the benefits of the fuel technology being employed. The easy-to-spot trucks are emblazoned with words emphasizing their fuel choice, such as “non-toxic,” “lower carbon emissions,” “progressive,” and “100 percent propane powered.”

“People have actually stopped our drivers and inquired about the propane autogas trucks: telling us how nice they look, asking about the performance and how much fuel they save,” said McGuire. “We’re pleased to have the opportunity to bring forth this clean American alternative energy solution.”

Compared to conventional diesel counterparts, propane autogas vehicles reduce smog-producing hydrocarbons, virtually eliminate particulate matter, and lessen noise levels by 50 percent — making the daily route not only safer for the environment, but also for the driver.

“Our company has been extremely progressive in doing the right thing for the environment and for our industry,” said McGuire. “Alpha Baking sees the domestic nature of propane fuel as an added benefit as it supports the U.S. economy and helps reduce our nation’s dependence on foreign oil.”

Refueling Infrastructure

The company opted for a private fueling station for driver convenience, fuel control and reduced labor costs. At its North Aurora truck depot, Alpha Baking installed two aboveground 1,000-gallon propane tanks in compliance with local regulations to refuel the trucks. In its continued efforts to be good corporate citizens, the company will consider opening the station to government municipalities in the future.

Real Cost-Savings

On the question of savings, McGuire notes that Alpha Baking is pleased with the initial operating performance and cost. The average price for propane in the Midwest region is currently $2.04 per gallon while gasoline is $3.60 and diesel is $4.00. The company has reported a lower fuel cost during the first five months of operation. McGuire believes there is a payback employing a propane autogas fleet.

Yet, return on investment is not the push behind this alternative fuel initiative. For this company, McGuire says, “We’re doing this because it’s the right thing to do.”

About ROUSH CleanTech: ROUSH CleanTech, an industry leader of alternative fuel vehicle technology, is a division of ROUSH Enterprises based in Livonia, Mich. ROUSH CleanTech designs, engineers, manufactures and installs propane autogas fuel system technology for light- and medium-duty Ford commercial vehicles, and Type A and Type C Blue Bird school buses. As a Ford QVM-certified alternative fuel vehicle manufacturer, ROUSH CleanTech delivers economical, clean and domestically produced fueling options for fleets across the country. Learn more at ROUSHcleantech.com or by calling 800.59.ROUSH.

(Completed in 2013)