As the world's largest package delivery company, fuel consumption is a necessary business expense that accounts for an average of 5.6 percent of UPS's operating revenue. From both a business and environmental perspective, UPS is committed to developing and testing innovative solutions and investing in technologies that minimize fuel consumption and reduce our impact on the environment.
Fuel conservation has been a priority at UPS since the early days of the company. In the 1930s, UPS pioneered the use of electric-powered vehicles in New York City, beginning the company's legacy of pursuing cleaner and more efficient alternative fuels. Through the years, countless resources and time have been devoted to numerous programs and technologies to help us meet our goal of increased fuel efficiency.
On the Road
UPS is committed to a sustainable future, and the company's alternative fuel vehicles play a large role in that commitment. UPS operates a fleet of more than 2,000 alternative fuel vehicles that make deliveries to homes and businesses every day. This fleet includes:
Compressed Natural Gas: UPS operates the largest private fleet of compressed natural gas vehicles in the U.S. with with almost 1,000 package delivery vehicles, including 167 scheduled to join the fleet in early 2008. UPS also operates CNG vehicles in Germany, France and Brazil.
Propane-Powered Vehicles: UPS operates more than 709 propane-powered vehicles in Canada and Mexico.
Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEVs): UPS was the first package delivery company to introduce a hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) into daily operations. In 2007, the company added 50 HEVs to its green fleet. This technology replaces the conventional engine and transmission with a small fuel-efficient diesel engine acting as a generator to provide electrical energy for the batteries and the drive motors. Hybrid electric technology offers significant potential to dramatically decrease emissions and fuel consumption.
Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG): UPS operates 11 LNG tractor-trailers (also known as semi-trucks) on the company's California to Nevada route. As a fuel, LNG is very dense, providing a large amount of energy for the space it takes up. This makes LNG an excellent fuel for large trucks that need to go long distances before stopping for more fuel.
Electric Vehicles: Because of significant improvements in battery engineering during recent years, electric vehicle technology is now viable for vehicles that operate short distances per day and allow for periods of recharging to the system. In October 2004, UPS deployed an electric vehicle to deliver packages in Manhattan. A second electric vehicle was introduced in 2005. This technology, besides producing zero emissions, may allow us to greatly reduce maintenance cost and environmental impact. Oil changes, anti-freeze replacements, water pumps, starters and clutch changes are completely eliminated by this technology. This could have a significant impact on fleet costs in the future.
Hydraulic Hybrid Vehicles: In late 2006, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) began testing the world's first Full Hydraulic Hybrid UrbanDelivery Vehicle. The EPA, UPS, Eaton, International Truck and Engine, and the U.S. Army National Automotive Center have partnered to build this unique UPS truck with a full-series hydraulic hybrid drive train that has been patented by EPA.
Fuel Cell Vehicles: In a unique collaboration with DaimlerChrysler and the U.S. EPA, UPS operated fuel cell Sprinter vehicles in Ontario, Calif., and Ann Arbor, Mich. UPS's hydrogen fuel cell vehicle was the first medium-duty fuel cell vehicle in commercial operation in North America . Fuel cells work by converting energy into electricity without combustion. Water vapor and heat are the only emissions produced.
Additionally, UPS tested 13 zero emission electric minivans in downtown Los Angeles, Calif. These vehicles had a range of 80 to 90 miles and were primarily used to make Next Day Air deliveries and pickups.
Back at the Hub
Achieving maximum fuel efficiency on the road requires hours of effort behind the scenes in UPS's corporate offices, technology centers and hubs, where packages are sorted and vehicles are loaded prior to final delivery. Accordingly, UPS has developed a number of programs to help drivers and their vehicles operate at optimal levels, encouraging reduced fuel consumption. These efforts include:
In the Hands of Our Drivers
Sometimes the biggest impact comes from the simplest step. At UPS, the importance of fuel conservation is demonstrated throughout the ranks with drivers playing an important role.
Idling: UPS drivers are trained to always turn off their package cars when they stop for a delivery, never idling at the curb or in a driveway. Even if the driver is out of the truck for a few seconds, the vehicle is always turned off.
In the Sky:
Conserving fuel is a top priority for UPS Airlines. In fact, the company created a position dedicated to managing fuel efficiency for the airlines. Additionally, UPS Airlines has implemented programs that take advantage of the advanced avionics to keep fuel use in check.