WASHINGTON: Amazon.com Inc has ordered more than 1,000 truck engines that run on compressed natural gas as it tests ways to shift its US fleet away from heavier polluting trucks, the company said.
The coronavirus pandemic caused delivery activity to surge in 2020, with truck volumes exceeding 2019 levels on average while passenger car traffic fell. But that increase in road activity means more pollution, as heavier-duty trucks emit higher levels of greenhouse gases than passenger vehicles.
Transportation companies are building their stable of electric vehicles to reduce carbon emissions. Much of the nation’s freight is delivered via medium- and heavy-duty trucks, which account for more than 20 per cent of the industry’s greenhouse gas emissions even though they make up less than 5 per cent of the road fleet, according to US federal data.
“Amazon is excited about introducing new sustainable solutions for freight transportation and is working on testing a number of new vehicle types including electric, CNG and others’’, the company said in a statement.
The online retailer’s sales rose 38 per cent in 2020; it plans to run a carbon neutral business by 2040.
The engines, supplied by a joint venture between Cummins Inc and Vancouver-based Westport Fuel Systems Inc, are to be used for Amazon’s heavy duty trucks that run from warehouses to distribution centres.
They can operate on both renewable and non-renewable natural gas, according to two sources familiar with the matter.
Natural gas emits approximately 27 per cent less carbon dioxide when burned compared with diesel fuel, according to the US Energy Information Administration.