Amazon moves to clean up its act with giant order of gas-fueled trucks

By Julian BuckleyFebruary 22, 2022

Hardly a day goes by without news the world is moving away from diesel-powered vehicles toward more sustainably fueled alternatives. Even Amazon is on board, as evidenced by its most recent move toward cleaning up its act.

The online retail giant is reported to have ordered about 700 Class 6 and Class 8 gas-fuel trucks to help reduce the environmental impact of its logistics operations.

The trucks’ engines will be supplied by Cummins, which specializes in diesel and alternative fuel engines, and they will use fuel systems delivered by Vancouver-based Westport Fuel Systems (WFS).

The trucks being delivered to Amazon will operate on both renewable and non-renewable natural gas. Natural gas is reported to emit about 27% less carbon dioxide in comparison to diesel fuel. The trucks will be used to move goods from Amazon warehouses to the company’s distribution centers.

Amazon to replace diesel rigs with gas-fuel equivalents Photo: Amazon

Logistics operations across the U.S. are largely carried out by medium- and heavy-duty trucks. While making up about 5% of the industry road fleet, they are estimated to contribute about 20% of all vehicle emissions in the transport sector.

Throughout the U.S., Covid lockdowns have caused freight activity to surge between 2019 and 2020, while passenger car use has declined.

The purchase of gas-fuel trucks follows Amazon ordering 100,000 battery-electric (BE) vans from EV start-up Rivian. The first of these vehicles, which will be used for customer deliveries, are expected to be delivered in 2022.

Natural gas and renewable natural gas are both methane gasses which when used as a fuel prevent methane from escaping into the atmosphere. Methane is said to contribute up to 10 times more emissions than carbon dioxide, both of which trap heat in the Earth’s atmosphere.

Amazon has stated previously that it aims to have half of all shipments be net zero carbon emissions by 2030, and then completely eliminate emissions by 2040.

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