UPS expands long-haul, natural gas fleet

The hybrid tractor trailers can travel up to 600 miles on one tank of fuel.
Written by Heather Clancy, Contributor

Delivery and logistics giant UPS has added another four dozen alternative fuel vehicles to its U.S. fleet, bringing the total number of vehicles in its "green fleet" to 1,914.

These are some serious trucks: the tractor trailers mostly skip diesel fuel in favor of liquefied natural gas. There IS a small amount of diesel used, but approximately 95 percent of it is replaced by the energy that the natural gas provides, according to UPS. The trucks are designed to produce approximately 25 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions than if the trucks were running solely on diesel. The trucks will travel a route from Ontario, Calif., to Las Vegas. Their range is approximately 600 miles, and they can make a roundtrip along this route on one tank of fuel.

UPS points to "energy security" as one of the drivers for the purchase. In its press release, Mike Britt, the director of vehicle engineering, says:

"This is an important step not only from an environmental standpoint, but from the viewpoint of U.S. energy security. Liquefied natural gas (LNG) is a cheaper, cleaner-burning fuel that is better for the environment and more sustainable than conventional diesel. And it's also a fuel that's in abundant supply inside the United States; it doesn't have to be imported."

According to UPS, LNG is one of the few alternative fuel technologies that is appropriate for the biggest of the big trucks, the ones that are intended for long-haul missions. The technology that UPS has purchased was manufactured by Kenworth and powered by engines from Westport HD Systems.

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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