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.

Alternative Fuels Good for Business at California Truck Stop

Located in a trucking hub, Fontana Truck Stop Center meets demand for cleaner fuels and sees positive margins with biodiesel and renewable hydrocarbon diesel.

Fontana Truck Stop Center has an ideal location. It’s just off one interstate and near another, both of them taking traffic to and from Los Angeles. It’s also in an industrial area populated with distribution centers, manufacturers and equipment dealerships.

“Fontana is a major hub for trucking,” says truck stop co-owner Lonnie Tabbaa. “You have all the big industries here. And we service all the major fleets and the smaller ones, both local and out-of-state drivers.”

But with fierce competition in the area for drivers, success is not guaranteed. Fontana Truck Stop Center has found that offering renewable fuels is one way to stand out, so they sell biodiesel blends and a blend of biodiesel and renewable hydrocarbon diesel (RHD) at its diesel islands.

The biodiesel advantage

Sustainability comes into play a couple of different ways.

First, companies and municipalities are increasingly adopting sustainability plans that aim to reduce their carbon footprints. Transportation fuels are a significant part of those efforts.

Second, the state of California is a global leader in setting policies to cut emissions. That includes the Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS), which requires a reduction in the carbon intensity of transportation fuels.

Fontana Truck Stop Center began selling biodiesel blends in 2015, starting at a B5 blend before quickly moving up to B20.

“Biodiesel is better for the environment than regular diesel,” says Abdul Mardini, the truck stop’s general manager. “It also gives us an advantage on the price we pay for fuel. At the same time, we can offer it to the drivers at a lower price. And it gives us an advantage on the truck stops that don’t use it.”

New blend draws interest

In 2017, Fontana Truck Stop Center began offering renewable hydrocarbon diesel for similar reasons: sustainability and economics. Then REG, which they buy fuel from, made them aware that blending biodiesel and renewable hydrocarbon diesel was an option. The blended product features many of the best attributes of the individual fuels:

• Superior emissions reductions.
• Excellent Cetane and lubricity, and lower aromatics and Cloud Point.
• Easy handling and storage.
• Allows companies to stretch their supply of RHD, which can be hard to get.

“The economics have been better for us and for drivers, we’ve heard no complaints about performance and it’s good for the environment,” Mardini says. “Also, there’s a lot of demand for RHD in California. By blending it with 20 percent biodiesel, we can expand our supplies of RHD.”

Renewables attract customers

Renewable fuels have done more for Fontana Truck Stop Center than drive business to the pumps. By attracting drivers to the truck stop, they’ve also given a boost to other services, such as in-store food sales, a detail center and a truck wash.

“I’ve told many friends of mine, as well as competitors who have truck stops, that renewable fuels are a good thing to have,” Tabbaa says. “It’s clean for the environment, you can make a better margin on the fuels and the drivers are fine with it. There are no issues.”

"A lot of fleets are sending their trucks to places that have cleaner-burning fuels. Also, we see better margins with renewable fuels than regular diesel fuel. They’re good for business."
Lonnie Tabbaa Co-owner, Fontana Truck Stop Center 

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