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Gina-Marie Cheeseman headshot

How FedEx is Reducing Fuel Use and Emissions

A transportation fleet is essential to FedEx and the services it provides, so reducing its fuel consumption and the emissions from its aircraft and vehicle fleet are key areas of focus for the company, as its recently released CSR report shows.

Among the key achievements in this area are meeting two goals for 2020 years ahead of schedule. FedEx achieved its goal to improve the overall fuel efficiency of its vehicle fleet by 20 percent by 2020. The company announced a new goal: to increase the fuel efficiency of its fleet by 30 percent by 2020. The other goal FedEx met ahead of schedule is improving the fuel efficiency of the FedEx Express delivery vehicle fleet by 20 percent. Last year, the company achieved a 22 percent fuel efficiency improvement. The new goal is now achieving a 30 percent improvement by 2020.

Developing alternative fuel sources or energy for its vehicle and aircraft fleet is important to FedEx, as the report emphasizes. FedEx has increased its alternative energy vehicle fleet by 18 percent in 2012, bringing the total to 364 hybrid-electric vehicles and 118 all-electric vehicles. The alternative energy vehicles save FedEx almost 500,000 gallons of fuel. Since aircraft emissions account for over 80 percent of FedEx's entire transportation fleet emissions, the company set a goal to use 30 percent alternative fuels in its aircraft by 2030. FedEx is working with The Nature Conservancy to create a roadmap guide to adopt biofuels for its long-haul segments.

FedEx is also working to reduce the fuel use and carbon in its aircraft fleet through its FedEx Express Fuel Sense program, which has identified dozens of ways to reduce fuel use and carbon emissions. The program saves 49 million gallons of jet fuel and avoids over 466,000 metric tons of carbon every year. Fuel Sense is actually 30 different programs. One of those programs provides software automation and communication between FedEx and air traffic control teams at its Memphis, Indianapolis and Paris hubs that allow real-time use of runways and air traffic resources. This saves approximately 45,000 gallons of jet fuel every month.

Another Fuel Sense program is the collaboration with the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) weight turbulence separation recategorization (RECAT), which reclassifies the minimum space requirements between aircraft. FedEx's Memphis hub was the first to implement RECAT in November 2011, which saves FedEx approximately 350,000 gallons of jet fuel a month.

Replacing less efficient aircraft

Replacing aircraft with more efficient models is another way FedEx reduces its fuel use and emissions. Last year, FedEx Express introduced seven more Boeing 777 aircraft into its fleet, which uses 18 percent less fuel. The company now has 23 Boeing 777s providing service to 25 global cities, and is on track to have 43 in service by 2023. In fall 2013, FedEx plans to introduce the Boeing 767 aircraft into its fleet, which will help the company meet its newly-revised aircraft emissions intensity reduction target.

FedEx also added 16 more Boeing 757 aircraft to its fleet last year, which are 36 percent more fuel efficient on a payload-adjusted basis than the 727-200s they replaced. Currently, the company has 70 Boeing 757s that provide service to 85 cities, and expects to soon replace all of its 727s with 757s.

Photo: Flickr user, Monica's Dad

Gina-Marie Cheeseman headshotGina-Marie Cheeseman

Gina-Marie is a freelance writer and journalist armed with a degree in journalism, and a passion for social justice, including the environment and sustainability. She writes for various websites, and has made the 75+ Environmentalists to Follow list by Mashable.com.

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