Coca-Cola rolling out hybrid delivery trucks

ATLANTA - Coca-Cola's logo might be the color red, but the company is doing its part to show that it's green.

And to depict its environmental stewardship, on Friday the Atlanta-based global giant announced it's deploying the largest fleet of hybrid electric delivery trucks in North America.

The move brought praise from Gov. Sonny Perdue and the Environmental Protection Agency.

"EPA is proud to recognize the efforts of Coca-Cola Enterprises to improve air quality and protect public health," said EPA Deputy Regional Administrator Stan Meiburg. "Emissions from diesel engines are a serious public health threat and environmental challenge, and reducing these emissions is a priority for EPA."

The governor had similar sentiments.

"I want to commend Coca-Cola Enterprises for receiving this award, and I am proud that this great company relies on Georgia as its home base," Perdue said. "Their investment in hybrid electric vehicles distinguishes the company amongst its peers and ensures that it remains at the forefront as a true leader in corporate responsibility and sustainability."

According to Coca-Cola Enterprises, the company plans to roll out 185 of the hybrid electric trucks across the United States and Canada in 2009, bringing their total number of hybrid electric delivery trucks to 327, the largest such fleet in North America. The firm said it already uses 142 smaller electric delivery vehicles on America's roads.

The hybrid electric tractors announced Friday are the standard bulk delivery trucks the company uses for large deliveries.

The company said the hybrids use about 30 percent less fuel and produce about 30 percent less emissions than standard tractors. They'll be deployed in 16 large U.S. metropolitan areas including Atlanta, Tampa, and Miami in the Southeast.

According to Coca-Cola Enterprises Chairman and CEO John Brock, the decision to expand the fleet of hybrids is part of the company's commitment to energy efficiency and combating climate change.

"These efforts help us capture operational efficiencies, drive innovation and effectiveness, and eliminate waste while simultaneously protecting the environment," he said.