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In the delivery business, the largest and most unpredictable overhead cost is vehicle fuel and Charles Perna, CEO of Skytop Inc., knows that finding fueling efficiencies is crucial to the growth and success of his business.
Skytop, Inc. is a package delivery service provider for FedEx Ground and began to incorporate compressed natural gas (CNG) delivery vehicles into its fleet. Operating out of the greater Philadelphia area, Perna knows that natural gas offers his business a more economical and environmentally friendly fueling solution, that will help his business grow the right way.
CNG puts Skytop among the forward-thinking companies who “walk the walk” when it comes to the environment.
Growth Set the Stage
When Skytop began serving delivery routes throughout Eastern Pennsylvania in 2008, Perna saw an emerging opportunity and grew Skytop by securing additional service areas, eventually connecting them to his network. “I kept acquiring routes that were connected to the others [that Skytop already operated],” says Perna. While this route synergy made the business a little easier to manage the fleet of mostly diesel trucks was aging quickly. Perna knew that he needed to explore alternative fueling solutions in order to grow his business.
Clean Energy Fuels Helps Make it Happen
Perna had experience with natural gas, using it at his previous company, a waste water management business which he sold before starting Skytop. Perna was introduced to Clean Energy Fuels, where he quickly learned about the improved options for CNG vehicles and systems, the rapidly growing national CNG network and the training that was easily accessible for his drivers. “It actually was a very easy process to train an employee how to fuel with CNG,” says Perna.
Skytop was also presented with the opportunity to take advantage of grant funding that the State of Pennsylvania offered businesses to purchase CNG vehicles. Pennsylvania is among many states that provide grants and tax benefits to encourage the use of natural gas vehicles. Skytop, with help from Clean Energy’s grants department, secured nearly $280,000 to assist with the conversion of 45 of their vehicles to CNG.
Since converting part of his fleet to CNG, Perna has seen an immediate reduction in fuel costs. Additionally, Skytop is now among the forward-thinking companies that “walk the walk” when it comes to reducing their impact on the environment.
As Skytop continues to grow its CNG fleet, Perna has some advice for other business owners interested in taking advantage of CNG. “If an entrepreneur really wants to get involved,” he says, “you need a good, solid team behind you. That’s what Clean Energy has been for me.” By embracing CNG, Perna is confident that Skytop has positioned itself as an innovator among operators looking to improve their business and community through cost-saving and environmentally beneficial initiatives.