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Kwik Trip & Kenworth a Winning Combo

June 26, 2012 in CNG, Fleet Order, LNG, NGVs by Rich Piellisch  |  No Comments

Four T440s – and Huge Ambitions for Natural Gas Vehicles

La Crosse, Wisc.-based Kwik Trip – which emerged as the alt fuels leader in the Upper Midwest when its opened its multi-faceted alt fuels filling station in mid-May – is operating a number of natural gas trucks of its own, including four Kenworth T440s for hauling food and petroleum products – two LNG tractors and two CNG straight trucks

This CNG-fueled reefer is one of four natural gas Kenworth T440s operated by Kwik Trip.

“A rising tide lifts all boats,” states a release circulated by Kwik Trip and Kenworth.

Kwik Trip is a convenience store and fuel station chain with more than 400 locations in three states. The firm says that its work to promote liquefied natural gas and compressed natural gas for vehicles “is helping move the nationwide adoption of LNG and CNG as viable fuel sources in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, and beyond.”

“We’re true believers and activists in making LNG and CNG go from an alternative fuel to a standard fuel,” said Chad Hollett, Kwik Trip director of transportation and distribution. “We’re moving forward with CNG at our stations,” he said, “and have plans to have 15 to 20 sites completed by this time next year.

Corridor LNG Stations Planned

“Within those, up to six will also offer LNG at strategic interstate corridors. With this network in place, we can show customers and fleets that they can fuel with confidence and move forward in the purchase of CNG and LNG vehicles.”

In addition to the big Kwik Trip center and a CNG station in La Crosse, and a CNG station in Sturtevant, Wisc., the firm plans to open a CNG station in Oshkosh, Wisc. in October and one in Rochester, Minn. in November.

“Not a day goes by that we don’t get 50 to 100 calls to learn about our plans with natural gas,” Hollett said. “Customers want to know when it will be available in their area.”

Kwik Trip operates — and provides fuel for — a variety of alt fuel vehicles at its headquarters facility in La Crosse, Wisc.

Hollett said the calls often lead to questions about equipment – which is also part of the Kwik Trip plan. “We not only supply the fuel, we use the fuel,” he said. “We have 400 vehicles ranging from cars to Class 8 trucks and we’re making the move toward natural gas in our own fleet. Today we have 20 natural gas vehicles in operation with more coming.”

“We purchased these vehicles without any government subsidies, to see how they operate and how they can reduce costs for our company. And they do – they all penciled out with a positive ROI. What’s more, we knew fleets would ask questions about the vehicles so we wanted to have answers for them,” Hollett said.

The T440s, spec’d and purchased through Wisconsin Kenworth in La Crosse, have 8.9-liter Cummins Westport ISL G engines (320 horsepower). Since much of their territory is flat, Hollett said the power performance of the Kenworths is comparable to Kwik Trip’s other trucks with bigger engines. “The drivers say they’re operating just fine.”

“We’re not running light loads,” Hollett said. “The two Kenworth CNG tractors are hauling fully loaded 48- to 50-foot trailers, grossing out at 80,000 pounds. Our T440 LNG hauls a 9,600 gallon fuel tanker and it too runs fully loaded.”

The Kwik Trip NGV Line-Up

Petroleum Transport
  • (1) 2012 Peterbilt 384 / 8.9L ISL-G / LNG dual 119 liquid gallon
  • (1) 2012 Kenworth T440 / 8.9L ISL-G / LNG dual 119 liquid gallon
  • (1) 2012 Freightliner M2 / 8.9L ISL-G / LNG dual 119 liquid gallon
Refrigerated Transport
  • (1) 2012 Peterbilt 384 / 8.9L ISL-G / CNG dual 45 – 90 diesel gallon equivalent
  • (1) 2012 Kenworth T440 / 8.9L ISL-G / LNG dual 119 liquid gallon
  • (1) 2012 Freightliner M2 / 8.9L ISL-G / CNG dual 45 – 90 DGE
Refrigerated Straight Truck
  • (1) 2012 Peterbilt 384 / 8.9L ISL-G / LNG dual 119 liquid gallon
  • (2) 2012 Kenworth T440 / 8.9L ISL-G / CNG dual 45 – 90 DGE
  • (1) 2012 Freightliner M2 / 8.9L ISL-G / CNG dual 45 – 90 DGE
Yard Operations
  • (1) 2010 Autocar Xspotter / 8.9L ISL-G / LNG single 100 liquid gallon
  • (1) 2012 Capacity / 8.9L ISL-G / LNG single 100 liquid gallon
Light Truck and Automotive
  • (4) 2012 Chevrolet Silverado K1500 / 5.3L / CNG 20 Gge / Impco bi-fuel
  • (1) 2012 Ford F-150 / 5.0L / CNG 20 Gge / Altech-Eco Bi-fuel
  • (1) 2012 Dodge Grand Caravan / 3.6L / 11.4 Gge / NatGasCar bi-fuel

With a slip-seat operation, the Kenworths and other Class 6-8 trucks in the Kwik Trip fleet run virtually non-stop. “We average between 200,000 to 250,000 miles on our trucks each year,” Hollett said. “And we’re getting close to 6 mpg in diesel and gas equivalencies with our LNG and CNG engines, and with retail fuel prices that range between $1.59 and $1.79 for CNG, and $2.69 for LNG, the math pencils out well.”

All of the heavy duty trucks have CNG or LNG fuel assemblies by Agility Fuel Systems.

It’s Not Just the Money

On the conservative side, running 200,000 miles per year, the company expects to save $80,000 a year in fuel costs with its CNG units and $43,000 a year with its LNG engines.

Hollett said that Kwik Trip is happy too about using a domestic fuel. “We have a vast supply of natural gas and it’s well documented. Since oil is a global commodity and price and availability is influenced by world conditions, prices will always be in flux, but on the whole, will only go higher.

“Compare that to our own supply of domestically produced natural gas and we have control over our own destiny. To us, that makes sense and it’s why we think of LNG and CNG as the fuel of the future.”

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