To reduce the environmental impact of our product transportation, we team with our partners to promote sustainable practices. Lowe’s was one of the earliest supporters of the Coalition for Responsible Transportation (CRT). In partnership with CRT and Environmental Defense Fund, we were instrumental in the EPA’s efforts to develop and launch a SmartWay program aimed at cleaning up the drayage trucks that deliver freight in and around U.S. ports.
Lowe’s has worked closely with carriers and ports for several years to reduce pollution from short-haul trucks. We helped develop successful clean-truck incentive programs at ports in Southern California and across the Southeast, and we continue to work with the EPA and CRT to expand the program in the Northeast and Pacific Northwest. Today, more than 75 percent of Lowe’s import containers are transported by drayage trucks that are 2004 or newer. Our goal is to increase that number to 100 percent by 2015.
Lowe’s encourages third-party carriers to join SmartWay, and we work with them to examine opportunities to reduce emissions and fuel use. All domestic shipments routed by Lowe’s are transported by SmartWay partners. Since 2005, the EPA program has helped reduce our carriers’ highway travel by nearly 830 million miles and resulted in diesel fuel savings of more than 150 million gallons and carbon savings of 1.7 million tons.
We continue to use more fuel-efficient modes of transport. We’re shipping more products by train and increasing the efficiency of truckload shipments. In 2012, Lowe’s joined the Florida Natural Gas Vehicle Coalition and began using alternative fuel vehicles for the first time to ship products from a regional distribution center. In Kissimmee, Fla., we delivered shipments with trucks powered by compressed natural gas (CNG) – a cleaner, safer and lower-priced alternative to diesel fuel. The CNG-powered 18-wheelers deliver about five shipments a week to our store in Fort Myers, logging more than 6,200 miles in the first few months of service.
We expanded those efforts this fall. Lowe’s launched a dedicated fleet of natural gas-powered trucks at our regional distribution center in Mount Vernon, Texas. Powered by liquefied natural gas, the trucks are expected to help Lowe’s reduce greenhouse gas emissions nearly 20 percent and control fuel costs as we transport up to 68 truckloads each day to stores in Texas, Louisiana and Oklahoma. We are working with our carriers to replace all of their diesel-powered, Lowe’s-dedicated fleets with natural gas trucks by the end of 2017.