United Nations Environment Programme

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truckUPS in the US – CNG and maintenance strategy

In the US, UPS has adopted an environmental strategy focusing on four different components: recycling and reuse; alternative fuels; fleet management; and facility initiative. Recycling and facility initiatives take place primarily within UPS offices, whereas the alternative fuels and maintenance programmes focus on the vehicle fleet.

UPS alternative fuel strategy:

UPS has been testing CNG delivery trucks since 1989, and today UPS has the largest fleet of CNG vehicles in the US – over 1000 vehicles. UPS has also hybrid trucks, propane trucks, and they are in the process of testing fuel cell vehicles and electric vehicles. However, the current focus is on their CNG vehicles.

Experiences derived from using this CNG fleet have been evaluated externally by the US Department of Energy, and overall, the results have been positive:

  • CNG trucks have reportedly reduced emissions of air pollutants significantly.
  • Fuel consumption was, however, 40% higher per km, based on energy content, but CO2 emissions were equivalent to diesel vehicles due to the lower carbon content in natural gas. Newer models of CNG trucks are expected to be significantly more fuel-efficient and thus emit less greenhouse gases than comparable diesel trucks.
  • Two drawbacks have been the shorter driving range and the higher maintenance costs. Higher maintenance costs are standard for new technologies, and are expected to be the even out for CNG and diesel vehicles in the longer term.

UPS maintenance strategy

UPS keeps its motor-driven vehicles in top-running condition through computer-scheduled preventative inspections. UPS also trains its drivers in safe and fuel-efficient driving behaviour.