UPS on Tuesday announced an expansion to its alternative vehicle fleet with plans to purchase some 700 liquefied natural gas (LNG) vehicles and to build four refueling stations by the end of 2014.
The company says an initial investment of more than $18 million to construct fueling stations will be supported by the purchase of the 700 LNG tractors and continued expansion of the natural gas fleet in the U.S.
UPS already operates 112 LNG tractor trailers from fueling stations in Las Vegas, Phoenix, Beaver and Salt Lake City and has its own LNG fueling station on its property in Ontario, California. Once completed, the company’s LNG private fleet will be one of the most extensive in the U.S.
“LNG will be a viable alternative transportation fuel for UPS in the next decade as a bridge between traditional fossil fuels and emerging renewable alternative fuels and technologies that are not quite ready for broad-based long-term commercial deployment,” said Scott Davis, UPS Chairman and CEO.
UPS says it has been operating natural gas vehicles for more than a decade. With natural gas prices 30 to 40 percent lower than imported diesel and U.S. production gearing up, the company is investing more aggressively in the natural gas infrastructure necessary to make it part of its U.S. delivery network. In addition to being cheaper and more accessible, natural gas also emits less greenhouse gas emissions.
UPS claims to already have more than 1,000 natural gas vehicles on the road globally. The company’s alternative fuel and advanced technology fleet of more than 2,600 vehicles also includes a wide array of low-emissions vehicles, including all-electrics, electric hybrids, hydraulic hybrids, propane, compressed natural gas and biomethane. Since 2000, the fleet powered by alternative fuels and technologies has driven more than 295 million miles.
New UPS-built fueling stations in Knoxville, Nashville and Memphis, Tenn., and Dallas, Texas, will serve its heavyweight rigs traveling into adjacent states. With the addition of accessible LNG fueling stations, UPS also will add LNG trucks on routes from Dallas, Houston and San Antonio to further extend territory.
UPS last year announced plans to partner with the world’s biggest post company, the US Postal Service (USPS), on a new sustainability initiative that could see a further sharing of logistics infrastructure.