Ryder System, Inc., a commercial transportation and supply chain management solutions provider, announced that Eagle Distributing of Shreveport, Inc., has signed a full-service lease agreement for 23 compressed natural gas (CNG) tractors. Eagle is an Anheuser-Busch distributor in northwestern Louisiana and Ryder’s first natural gas lease customer in Louisiana. The CNG tractors will replace nearly all of Eagle’s existing diesel-powered delivery fleet.

With natural gas vehicles available for lease and rental in markets in California, Arizona, and Michigan, Ryder now adds Shreveport, La., as its newest market with a natural gas vehicle offering. Ryder will also provide maintenance for the 23 CNG vehicles from Ryder’s Shreveport service facility, which is being upgraded for compliance with natural gas standards.

The CNG vehicles are part of a strategic initiative by Eagle to reduce its carbon footprint and control fuel costs. “By changing out these 23 vehicles, Eagle will cut its greenhouse gas emissions from its current 878 tons down to 670 tons, which will be a reduction of 24 percent,” said Doug Jones, operations manager for Eagle. “We are also changing out smaller fleet vehicles to CNG. We are committed and will continue to change out more vehicles this year and in the years to come until all our vehicles are converted to CNG,” he added.

“As a socially responsible company, we wanted to look at our fleet options not only from a cost perspective, but also as a good neighbor to our customers and the communities we serve,” said Brad Nichols, president of Eagle. “These advanced technology compressed natural gas vehicles work as well as their diesel counterparts and produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions. With the availability and planned growth of natural gas fueling infrastructure in our service area in Louisiana, we believe CNG vehicles will continue to gain momentum as an environmentally beneficial and cost-competitive alternative.”

Ryder’s leased vehicles will be used to make deliveries throughout Eagle’s service territory of nine parishes in Northwest Louisiana. Eagle is also currently exploring plans to build a natural gas fueling station near its headquarters in Shreveport.

Eagle distributes the Anheuser-Busch InBev brands that include the Budweiser, Michelob, Busch, and Natural brand families of beers, as well as a number of other import, craft, and non-alcohol products.