EL SEGUNDO, CA - Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market announced the addition of 25 compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles to its distribution fleet as part of a partnership with Ryder System, Inc. Fresh & Easy's new natural gas vehicles produce 20 to 30 percent less emissions than comparable diesel vehicles and are part of the company's efforts to reduce emissions. The vehicles were made available through a $38.7 million Ryder/ San Bernardino Associated Governments (SANBAG) project that is part of a joint public/private partnership between the U.S. Department of Energy, the California Energy Commission, the Southern California Association of Governments Clean Cities Coalition, and Ryder.

"We are committed to reducing our impact on the environment. By incorporating natural gas vehicles into our fleet, we are helping to reduce emissions even further," said Fresh & Easy CEO Tim Mason. "When we can reduce our operating costs through more efficient transportation technologies like natural gas, we can pass those savings on to our customers."

Fresh & Easy already has introduced trailers that include a hybrid refrigeration vector unit which minimizes the amount of fuel used to safely cool and transport store products. Trailers also include an automatic refrigeration shut-off when optimum temperature is reached inside the cooling chamber, as well as a complete engine shut-off once parked at the stores. At the distribution center, Fresh & Easy has utilized plug-in electrical stand-by technology so no fuel is used to run refrigeration units on parked trailers.

"We're happy we can offer innovative and efficient trucks that enable Fresh & Easy to not only lower transportation costs and increase efficiencies, but also have clear and measurable benefits for reduced emissions," stated John Sonia, Ryder's senior vice president of operations for Dedicated Contract Carriage solutions. "Today's complex supply chains require unwavering operational excellence, and this new vehicle technology allows Fresh & Easy to transition their fleets and maintain this excellence, with the added environmental benefits of natural gas."

On average, Fresh & Easy stores use 30-percent less energy than a typical supermarket, which helps customers save money - and also helps the environment. Fresh & Easy is a pilot member of the LEED Volume Certification Program, demonstrating its commitment to build sustainable buildings, and also has the most currently certified GreenChill stores in the nation. At its distribution center, Fresh & Easy invested $13 million in a 500,000 square foot solar roof installation - one of the largest in California - which produces 20 percent of the energy for the entire facility.