Safeway Converts U.S. Trucking Fleet to Biodiesel

PLEASANTON, California, January 21, 2008 (ENS) – Safeway Inc. announced Friday that it has converted its entire U.S. truck fleet to cleaner-burning biodiesel fuel.

The company will use B20, a blend of 20 percent biodiesel and 80 percent diesel, in its fleet of more than 1,000 trucks.

Biodiesel is made from renewable resources such as fats and vegetable oils. Blends of up to 20 percent can be used in any diesel engine with no need for modification.

“We commend Safeway for showing leadership in true corporate sustainability,” said Joe Jobe, CEO of the National Biodiesel Board. “The company is also reducing its dependence on foreign oil and helping to stimulate a domestic energy economy. We encourage other large retailers to follow this example.”

Safeway trucks will run on B-20
a blend of 20 percent vegetable
diesel and 80 percent petroleum
diesel. (Photo courtesy Safeway)

Safeway estimates the move will help reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 75 million pounds annually, the equivalent of taking nearly 7,500 passenger vehicles off the road each year.

“Safeway is proud to lead by example to help protect the environment,” said Safeway chief executive Steve Burd. “Using biodiesel to power our transportation fleet will prevent millions of pounds of carbon emissions from being released into the environment. Our biodiesel program is just one of many initiatives underway that will make a positive impact on the environment.”

Community leaders and politicians across the country helped Safeway to make its biodiesel announcement.

In Northern California, Lt. Governor John Garamendi joined Burd Friday for an unveiling of the company’s newest biodiesel fueled big rig at the company’s Dublin, California store. The store is one of the company’s green stores, and is powered by solar energy. The on-site Safeway fuel center is powered by wind energy.

“Safeway’s environmental leadership is a shining example of how businesses can adapt and become a major player in the fight against global warming,” said Lt. Governor Garamendi. Thinking green can no longer be a choice in the business world when looking toward the future. Smart businesses are looking over the horizon, and understand that the risks and opportunity associated with this critical issue must be part of their overall plan to grow and to be successful in the future.”

In Colorado Governor Bill Ritter and U.S. Senator Ken Salazar helped fuel the first biodiesel truck at a Safeway distribution center. Mayor Richard Daley joined executives from Safeway’s Dominick’s division for an event in Chicago.

In the excitement over Safeway’s switch to biodiesel, environmentalists say there are some disadvantages to using the fuel. Produced from agricultural crops such as soy and rapeseed, biodiesel involves additional land use, and environmental effects are inevitable. Switching to biodiesel on a large scale requires considerable use of farmland and natural forests may be felled to make way for crops that produce the vegetable oil used to make biodiesel.

If other large companies switch to biodiesel worldwide, the impact on global food supply could be a major concern. Wildlife may be displaced as habitats are destroyed.

Pure biodiesel does not flow well at low temperatures, which can cause problems for customers with outdoor storage tanks in colder climates. A related disadvantage is that biodiesel, because of its nature, cannot be transported in pipelines but must be transported by truck or rail, which increases the cost.

The biodiesel program is part of Safeway’s greenhouse gas reduction initiative and the company’s overall effort to manage its carbon footprint, address climate change and reduce air pollution.

The company has been recognized for using solar power, alternative fuels and construction strategies in conjunction with education to reduce carbon emissions.

In 2006 Safeway joined the Chicago Climate Exchange, a voluntary, legally binding greenhouse gas emissions reduction, registry and trading program. In addition, the company is participating in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s SmartWay Transportation Partnership.

Safeway is one of the largest retail purchasers of renewable wind energy in the U.S, purchasing 87,000 megawatts annually, enough to power its 300 fuel stations and over 50 stores.

The company has installed new energy-efficient refrigeration technology and freezer systems and uses LED lighting in some stores to reduce electricity usage.

Safeway operates an extensive recycling program in which nearly 500,000 tons of materials are recycled each year, including cardboard, plastics and compostable materials. This is the equivalent of filling six football fields stacked 35 feet high. The company offers reusable canvas bags to customers and has plastic bag recycling programs at many stores.

“Safeway cares about the environment and this investment in utilizing cleaner-burning technologies to operate our trucking fleet reflects our strong commitment to protecting the environment,” said Senior Vice President for Energy Operations Joe Pettus. “Our customers care about these types of sustainability issues, and we are proud to be a leader in environmental best practices.”

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