FORT MILL, SC - Continental Tire North America, Inc. has officially exceeded its goal of increased compliance with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's SmartWay Transport Partnership in only its first year of participation.

Continental first joined the SmartWay Transport Partnership in June 2008 as a Shipper Partner, committing to reduce its environmental impacts from ground freight transportation. In joining the partnership, Continental agreed to use the Freight Logistics Environmental and Energy Tracking (FLEET) Performance Model for Shippers to quantify its environmental performance level. Continental was then required to maintain a score of at least 0.5 within the FLEET Performance Model.

Continental's initial goal within the partnership was to achieve a FLEET Performance Model score of at least 0.95 within three years of joining the SmartWay Transport Partnership, said Dominique Lacroix, director of supply chain operations. However, Continental found that at the end of its first year of partnership, after shipping more than 24 million tires to NAFTA countries, it had already achieved a score of 1.14 out of a maximum of 1.25. The score was verified by the EPA in June 2009.

"Exceeding our compliance goal with the SmartWay Transport Partnership means that Continental is doing its part to reduce air pollution and the environmental impacts from our supply chain operations," Lacroix said.

According to Lacroix, Continental makes an effort to spread the word to its carriers about the environmental impacts of reducing greenhouse gases as part of its corporate social responsibility principles. Its largest carrier, Old Dominion Freight Line, Inc. of Thomasville, N.C., joined the SmartWay Transport Partnership as a Transport Carrier in 2008.

The SmartWay Transport Partnership aims to save between 3.3 and 6.6 billion gallons of diesel fuel per year by 2012, which is the equivalent of removing 12 million passenger cars from the road. In order to achieve this reduction, SmartWay Transport Carriers pledge to implement idle reduction strategies, improve aerodynamics, use advanced freight logistics practices, reduce vehicle and equipment weights, implement driver training and use SmartWay verified fuel efficient technologies including wide base and low rolling resistant tires.

Continental complements its goals as a shipper partner as a manufacturer of SmartWay verified low rolling resistance tires, including the HSL2 steer tire, the HDL Eco Plus drive tire and the HTL Eco Plus trailer tire. Its new HTL1 super single trailer tire has been submitted to SmartWay for inclusion on the list of low rolling resistance tires and is awaiting official verification.