UPS Adds to its Alternative Fuel Fleet

UPS announced last week it has added 300 new “package cars” (what they call their delivery trucks) powered by Compressed Natural Gas (CNG). The addition makes a total of 1,819 alternative fuel vehicles that UPS operates, the largest private fleet in the industry.

The 300 latest CNG vehicles have been deployed over the past month in several cities throughout the United States, including 43 vehicles in Denver, 46 in Atlanta, 100 in Oklahoma City, and a total of 111 vehicles in four cities in California (Sacramento, San Ramon, Los Angeles, and Ontario). The latest CNG vehicles are part of an order placed last May, adding to the 800 CNG package cars already in operation

We’ve kept tabs on the efforts UPS makes in greening its business operations, from its data center to pursuing new, innovative technologies for their worldwide fleet of vehicles. Last October, I attended a press conference held in Atlanta where UPS, in collaboration with the EPA and Eaton Corporation, unveiled one of seven new hydraulic hybrid delivery vehicles (Triple Pundit was given exclusive access to webcast the event).

The CNG vehicles, which UPS first began deploying in the 1980’s, will reduce carbon emissions by 20% from the cleanest diesel vehicles available today. Robert Hall, UPS’s Director of Vehicle Engineering points out that making the choice to use cleaner burning fuels is both an environmental choice as well as a wise business decision, saying in a statement last week: “Continuing to add CNG delivery trucks to our fleet is a sustainable choice because natural gas is a cost effective, clean-burning, and readily available fuel.”

Green Is a Shade of Brown

UPS started using alternative fuel vehicles long before the term was even coined. In the 1930’s, the company fielded a fleet of electric vehicles in New York City. Since that time, UPS has added to its fleet package cars powered with CNG, Liquified Natural Gas, propane, electric, hybrid electric, and hydraulic hybrid technology. Since 2000, its alternative fuel fleet has traveled 144 million miles in the U.S, Canada, Mexico, Germany, France, Brazil, Chile, Korea, and the UK.

Clearly, the greener shade of Brown gets around.

Along with the ground-breaking purchase of seven hydraulic hybrid vehicles like the one in which I rode last October, UPS is conducting research into hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, and remains committed to expanding its green fleet of package cars. “Deploying eco-friendly delivery vehicles is one of the many ways UPS demonstrates its commitment to sustainable business practices,” says Hall. “The company plans to continue to expand its ‘green fleet’ and to focus deployments in areas with air quality challenges.”

UPS is traded on the Dow Jones and FTSE4Good Sustainability Indexes and “pursues a wide range of socially responsible and sustainable business practices designed to reduce its impact on the environment and improve communities around the world.”

Tom is the founder, editor, and publisher of and the TDS Environmental Media Network. He has been a contributor for Triple Pundit since 2007. Tom has also written for Slate, Earth911, the Pepsico Foundation, Cleantechnia, Planetsave, and many other sustainability-focused publications. He is a member of the Society of Environmental Journalists