Beer distributor J.J. Taylor Companies is planning to swap out the diesel-powered tractors in its Tampa-based fleet with units fueled by compressed natural gas (CNG) tractors via a fair market lease financing contract through PHH FirstFleet, a division of PHH Arval.

“We’ve been working to reduce our carbon footprint over the past five years, so the change to CNG is a natural progression,” explained Jose Rivera, VP- finance/administration for J.J. Taylor. “CNG has near-zero emissions and is therefore less harmful to the environment. It also has a lower cost on a diesel gallon equivalent basis, and CNG vehicles are markedly quieter than their diesel counterparts.”

He noted that J.J. Taylor has ordered 43 Freightliner Business Class M2 112 CNG-powered tractors and plans to its entire 95 unit fleet with CNG-fired units within the next 36 months. The tractors – acquired through Tampa Truck Center and powered by a Cummins-Westport 8.9L ISL-G engine and an Allison 3000Hs transmission – will start operating in February once Vocational Energy, LLC, out of Fontana, CA, finishes building a nearby CNG refueling station.

Meanwhile, plans for a second station and conversion of the company’s Ft. Meyers-based fleet of 75 units are also underway, Rivera said, noting that J.J. Taylor will use the CNG vehicles in daily delivery operations throughout the company’s territory covering Pasco, Hillsborough, Pinellas, Manatee and Sarasota counties.

In the future, the company's CNG-powered fleet will operate in a total of 17 Florida counties, he said.