Amazon has ordered hundreds of trucks that run on compressed natural gas (CNG) as it seeks ways to shift its US fleet away from heavier polluting vehicles, the firm told Reuters.
The COVID-19 pandemic caused delivery activity to surge in 2020, with truck volumes exceeding 2019 levels on average while passenger car traffic dropped. But an increase in road activity means more pollution, as heavy-duty trucks emit higher levels of greenhouse gases (GHGs) than passenger vehicles.
Much of the US’s freight is delivered via medium and heavy-duty trucks, which account for more than 20% of the industry’s GHG emissions, even though they make up less than 5% 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.
Amazon has ordered more than 700 CNG class 6 and class 8 trucks so far. The engines, supplied by a joint venture between Cummins and Vancouver-based Westport Fuel Systems, are to be used for Amazon’s heavy-duty trucks that run from warehouses to distribution centres. More than 1,000 engines that can operate on renewable and non-renewable natural gas have been ordered by the supplier, according to a source familiar with the situation.