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.

A Convenient Sustainability Solution for C-stores

Kum & Go has embraced biodiesel as sustainability rises in importance for it and its customers.

As one of the largest chains in the competitive convenience store industry, Kum & Go must stay on top of trends. In recent years, environmental sustainability has emerged as perhaps the biggest trend around.

The West Des Moines, Iowa-based company has turned to biodiesel to help it meet both its own and its customers’ environmental goals.

“I think the sustainability factor is very important,” says Jim Pirolli, Vice President of Fuels at Kum & Go. “Reducing carbon emissions and replacing fossil fuels with something that’s more environmentally friendly is a message that a lot of people can get behind, whether they’re fleets or individual drivers.”

When Pirolli talks about giving customers the products they want, he’s talking about a lot of customers. Kum & Go has more than 400 stores in 11 states that serve about 480,000 customers daily.

Biodiesel boosts performance

Kum & Go has a long history with biofuels, first offering an ethanol blend in the late 1970s. About a decade ago, it introduced biodiesel and now blends biodiesel into nearly all of its diesel fuel. That varies from 5 to 20 percent (known as B5 and B20), and it offers biodiesel year-round — even in the middle of winter at its stores in the upper Midwest and mountain regions.

Kum & Go has found that, above all else, customers value performance and want a fuel that they can be confident in and one that provides good fuel economy.

"Everything we do on fuel is based on customer demand and quality, foremost,” Pirolli says. “With biodiesel, the fuel has some unique performance characteristics. There are a lot of BTUs available in biodiesel. That means more power and better fuel economy. It also has a high lubricity ratio. So, when we can use more biodiesel, that’s going to provide better performance for customers, and also potentially lower our diesel retail price.”

It’s important, he says, that a c-store purchases high-quality biodiesel. Kum & Go is an REG customer.

“We choose to partner with upstream players and go directly to our fuel suppliers and producers of the product, whether that’s petroleum or biofuels,” Pirolli says. “A partnership with a company like REG that can supply a large quantity of product, from multiple locations, with a very consistent quality is extremely important for our program.”

Sustainability as a core value

For Kum & Go, sustainability is not only about meeting customer demand. It also has become a core piece of the company’s culture. That’s demonstrated not only in the fuel lineup but also in the more than 100 LEED-certified stores they’ve built, the availability of recycling at fuel dispensers and other initiatives.

“Kum & Go sees biofuel blends fitting into our sustainability goals in a couple of different ways,” Pirolli says. “First of all, we’re located in one of the highest-producing regions for corn and soybeans, and that means that, by promoting biofuels at our stores, we’re helping farmers achieve a better corn or soybean price and are supporting domestic production of biofuels. And then we’re offering customers in the local regions a better economic value on their fuel.”