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.

Navigating the Trucking Industry Landscape With Biodiesel

Biodiesel helps Ruan reduce emissions and protect the bottom line.

Ruan truck

 

Ruan Transportation Management Systems has never stopped innovating, which is fitting for one of America’s most storied trucking companies.

John Ruan started the company in Des Moines, Iowa, in 1932 with one truck. Today, it is an asset-based 3PL with a diverse offering of services, over 300 locations nationwide and a fleet that travels 350 million miles a year.

As the company continues to evolve, Ruan recognizes the importance of environmental sustainability to the trucking industry's future.

“Ruan wants to help reduce emissions,” says Steve Larsen, the company’s Director of Procurement and Fuel. “We are also very customer-focused, and a lot of our customers have sustainability goals, and we want to support them by being a cleaner supplier.

To that end, Ruan started running its fleet on biodiesel blends in large volumes in 2016. It has found biodiesel to be a drop-in solution that can help the environment and fleet performance while also being a lower-cost option compared with petroleum diesel and other alternative fuels. "With biodiesel, you can start being cleaner and saving money right away without having to do any equipment or infrastructure changes," Larsen says.

Proving value

Ruan’s use of cleaner fuels also makes a strong impression on customers and prospective customers that are increasingly asking about sustainability initiatives, including in RFPs. So, too, does its ability to offer specifics with the reports Renewable Energy Group (REG) provides that show how much Ruan has reduced greenhouse gas emissions by using REG fuel.

“As of fall 2018, Ruan has reduced greenhouse gas emissions by over 2,100 metric tons since starting to do business with REG,” Larsen says. “It’s a real advantage to have that kind of information calculated for us and available to share with our customers.”

Larsen says REG also stands out for product quality, reliability and competitive pricing. Ruan buys fuel that has already been blended, rather than doing the blending itself.

A mainstream fuel

Ruan’s history with biodiesel may only be a few years old, but Larsen says the benefits are obvious — and thinks that goes for the entire trucking industry.

“At this point, I’m going to be more surprised if I hear somebody is running vehicles that don’t have biodiesel, especially Class 8 trucks,” Larsen says. “For Ruan, it simply comes down to emissions reductions, strong performance and cost savings.”

  • Headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa
  • Operates in 48 states
  • Has approximately 4,000 tractors and 9,500 trailers
  • Uses up to B20 blends
  • Biodiesel benefits: sustainability, performance, price

 

 


 

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