THE NUMBERS make a compelling argument. Hybrid trailer refrigeration units can reduce operating costs by as much as 70% when compared to traditional diesel-fueled refrigeration, and the savings should grow as electric shore power becomes available at more locations where loaded trailers are parked for an extended time.

Recently, managers at Maines Paper & Food Service, Conklin, New York, reported that 33 trailers with Carrier Transicold’s hybrid refrigeration units have generated nearly $300,000 in annual fuel savings since being placed in service. These trailers are just 6% of the company’s 500-plus trailer fleet.

At Mile Hi Foods Company in Commerce City, Colorado, fleet managers estimated that 27 trailers with Carrier Vector refrigeration units saved the foodservice distributor approximately $85,000 in fuel expenditures during the first year the units were in operation.

Witte Bros in Troy, Missouri, is another refrigerated fleet that is reaping significant savings with Carrier’s hybrid refrigeration units. Managers say fuel savings for the company’s 245-plus refrigerated trailers could be as high as $20,000 a week if they could plug into shore power systems every time a trailer is parked.

Growing popularity

David Kiefer, director of marketing and product management for Carrier Transicold, says these testimonials are hardly out of the ordinary. “It’s because the use of electric standby significantly reduces operating costs—usually 40% to 70% compared to operating on diesel, depending on the cost of fuel and electricity,” he says. “Standby operation brings additional benefits, eliminating emissions and noise from the refrigeration unit engine, while also conserving fuel for the highway. Depending on the fleet and its distribution network, the time a trailer is parked for loading and unloading can account for a large portion of the refrigeration unit runtime, so the savings can be significant.”