Frito-Lay adds natural gas stations

Frito-Lay North America took its latest step toward ditching diesel last week, announcing a series of new stations to refuel its growing fleet of natural gas-powered trucks.

The move will help the snack-making division of PepsiCo cut its greenhouse gas emissions 50 percent by 2020, the company said. PepsiCo is also moving forward with other changes that will allow it to stop purchasing hundreds of thousands of gallons of diesel annually.

Major corporations, amid a growing push for cleaner fuels, are trying to slash their use of diesel.

Frito-Lay unveiled its first compressed natural gas refueling station last week in Wisconsin and will break ground on seven other stations this year across the United States, according to a news release.

The stations will serve Frito-Lay’s fleet of natural gas trucks, which will grow to 208 vehicles this year, 20 percent of Frito-Lay’s overall truck fleet, the company said.

One of the stations to be built this year will be located in Rosenberg, Texas, about 40 miles southwest of Houston.

Fuels: Natural gas faces a long road to overtake diesel

“This initiative to build much-needed natural gas infrastructure for large commercial vehicles is part of Frito-Lay’s deep commitment to the environment,” Mike O’Connell, Frito-Lay North America’s senior director for fleet operations, said in a statement. “When all 208 CNG tractors are in service, Frito-Lay will eliminate 7,863 metric tons of carbon emissions, the equivalent of over 1,125 cars annually.”

PepsiCo is also in the process of purchasing 100 electric commercial trucks from Smith Electric Vehicles, to grow its electric fleet to 280 vehicles. The company’s electric fleet eliminates the need for 500,000 gallons of diesel annually, according to PepsiCo.

Despite commercial movement away from diesel, energy companies have projected growing demand for the fuel because of its use worldwide. Exxon Mobil Corp. projected that diesel will account for 70 percent of the demand growth for transportation fuels.

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