Biodiesel Driving Business to National Fleet

The sustainability trend has swept across the transportation and fuel industries in recent years. Biodiesel has helped G&D Integrated, a for-hire carrier, meet its own environmental goals and win business. 

Helping the Environment and Profits

G&D Integrated has found that sustainability is not only about its own goals, but also what it can do to meet its customers’ goals to be environmentally friendly.

“We’ve noticed that there are more and more customers asking us to participate in their sustainability efforts,” says Vince Buonassi, group manager of transportation programs at the for-hire carrier. “We’ve actually been awarded freight based on our biodiesel usage.”

Those customers are found worldwide and do business in heavy equipment manufacturing and parts fulfillment, agricultural machinery, automotive parts and components, food containers and food packaging.

Located in central Illinois, G&D Integrated’s services include transportation, warehousing, and distribution and logistics. On the transportation side, it offers point-to-point hauling, dedicated contract carriage, ocean container drayage and freight brokerage.

Its fleet of 430 vehicles travels up to 26 million miles annually. The diesel-powered units run year-round on a blend of 20 percent biodiesel and 80 percent petroleum diesel, which is known as B20.

Biodiesel has been key not only in the company’s sustainability efforts but also in growing its business. For instance, biodiesel usage is showing up in some RFPs and, Buonassi says, has been “directly related” to the company winning bids. It also has helped G&D Integrated strengthen its relationship with East Coast ports that want to reduce their carbon footprint.

“Many of our customers analyze their entire supply chain for environmental impact, and some have even gone as far as incorporating sustainability into their purchasing departments,” he says.

Significant carbon reduction

The reduction in carbon dioxide emissions from G&D’s use of biodiesel is equal to nearly 230,000 fewer gallons of gasoline consumed each year. Particulate matter is reduced by 2,854 pounds annually. The numbers come from the B20 Club, a program from the Illinois Soybean Association and the American Lung Association.

“We’re talking a material difference here,” Buonassi says.

G&D Integrated started using biodiesel several years ago after its fuel supplier, Ag-Land FS Inc., introduced the company to the fuel.

“They were claiming that this product would not only cost us less money but also would not result in any efficiency losses,” Buonassi says.

He has found that to be true and says biodiesel has not caused G&D Integrated to increase its rates.

Fuel that performs

G&D Integrated started with a B11 blend before quickly moving up to B20. Each time, it rigorously tested the fuel.

“What we observed was there was absolutely zero degradation in performance,” Buonassi says.

In fact, biodiesel added lubricity. It has also performed well in cold weather. Buonassi credits partnering with a quality vendor like Ag-Land FS to getting a good product. The fuel comes from REG.

“A company like REG has production facilities that make top-of-the-line, quality-controlled biodiesel,” he says. “And they’re sourcing different forms of feedstock that go through testing before being converted to the end product.”

It’s an end product that Buonassi credits with helping G&D Integrated stay ahead of the curve.

“There’s really no sense in fighting the tide of sustainability,” he says. “A lot of other truck carriers will. At G&D, we feel it's our duty to be good environmental custodians, and it makes business sense for us.”

The Bottom Line

Environment

G&D Integrated's biodiesel use reduces:

  • Carbon dioxide emissions by the equivalent of 230,000 gallons of gasoline annually
  • More than 2,800 pounds of particulate matter

Performance

No drop in fleet performance compared with petroleum diesel.
Uses up to a B20 blend in cold weather.

Business

G&D Integrated has been awarded business because of biodiesel use.

Watch: G&D Integrated Explains Biodiesel Benefits

Before G&D Integrated fully embraced biodiesel, it extensively tested how it's fleet performed. See the results.

Fleet Finds All the Right Reasons to Use Biodiesel

Mahoney Environmental has long worked with the biodiesel industry. Now its own fleet is taking advantage of the fuel’s many benefits.

Mahoney Environmental has a very good business reason to support biodiesel: It collects used cooking oil from restaurants and sells it to biodiesel producers to be made into the renewable fuel. The greater the demand for biodiesel, the greater the demand for its services.

But that’s not why the Illinois-based company runs its 160-truck fleet on biodiesel blends. Instead, it’s the performance, financial and environmental benefits the company receives from the renewable fuel.

“At the end of the day, there’s not a lot of argument to be made against using biodiesel,” says Jeff Corbin, the company’s Director of Maintenance and Fleet Operations.

Performance benefits

Mahoney Environmental has restaurant customers in all 50 states, picking up used cooking oil, servicing grease traps, providing proprietary equipment for cooking oil handling and, in certain markets, delivering fresh oil.

Corbin’s job is to make sure that its full fleet of Class 7 and 8 trucks are in good running condition on any given day. So even though his employer is connected to the biodiesel industry, if the fuel didn’t perform, he wouldn’t use it.

That, however, has not been an issue. With biodiesel:
• The fleet’s miles per gallon have stayed steady
• The added lubricity has reduced wear on engine components
• The cleaner-burning fuel has helped the trucks’ after-treatment systems

“Our company can’t operate without the trucks,” Corbin says. “I certainly wouldn’t put anything into the vehicles that isn’t going to perform and keep them on the road on a daily basis.”

Financial benefits

Biodiesel has also made good financial sense for Mahoney Environmental. It often pays less for biodiesel than petroleum diesel throughout the country. The company gets further savings in its home state of Illinois, where biodiesel blends of B11 and above are exempt from the state’s 6.25 percent sales tax.

Then there are the added benefits like improved performance thanks to biodiesel’s added lubricity, higher Cetane and cleaner burn.

“It’s hard to put a dollar figure on those today, but in the long run, our goal is to reduce that maintenance expense and downtime,” Corbin says.

Environmental benefits

Given the work that it does, it probably goes without saying that environmental sustainability is important to Mahoney Environmental. That’s another reason it runs its fleet on biodiesel. Compared with petroleum diesel, the fuel reduces emissions of greenhouse gases, total hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide and particulate matter.

“We want to support biodiesel not only because we are engrained in the industry, but because it’s the right thing to do for our environment,” Corbin says. “We want to reduce our carbon footprint.”

A good partner

One of Mahoney Environmental’s used cooking oil customers is REG, which uses the waste oil as a feedstock in the biodiesel production process. It’s the relationship with REG and first-hand knowledge of the company’s high-quality fuel that persuaded Mahoney Environmental to go from dabbling in fueling its fleet with biodiesel to implementing it across its entire fleet at blend levels of up to B20.

“REG gives us a fuel that we have confidence in,” Corbin says. “Also, the support from them is phenomenal. REG is a great partner with us.” 

"At the end of the day, there's not a lot of argument to be made against using biodiesel."
Jeff Corbin, Director of Maintenance and Fleet Operations.

Mahoney Environmental

  • Located in Joliet, Illinois
  • Fleet travels 9.5 million miles annually
  • Fuels with biodiesel blends up to B20
  • Gets performance, financial and environmental benefits from biodiesel
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