UPS Logs Half a Billion Miles Driven in Alternative Fuel Vehicles

Alongside a trend of delivery services switching to low-carbon fuel sources, UPS has built up a fleet of electric, natural gas and other alternative-fuel vehicles.

by / October 13, 2015

As the logistics and delivery industries turn more toward green technology, one of the largest companies in the business announced last week that it has hit a milestone in its carbon reduction efforts.

The United Parcel Service announced that it has logged more than 500 million road miles traveled using alternative-fuel vehicles, per The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. That’s halfway to the company’s goal of logging 1 billion miles by 2017.

UPS, which is seeing an increase in home package delivery due to the rise of online orders, now has a global fleet of 5,800 alternative-fuel vehicles, according to the article. And according to the company’s website, that fleet includes all-electric, hybrid electrics, hydraulic hybrids, compressed and liquid natural gas, liquid natural gas, and biomethane vehicles. It also uses lightweight composite body vehicles that can drive more miles per gallon.

The company also announced that it’s working on technology to calculate faster and more efficient routes for package delivery.

The logistics industry as a whole has been pushing for heavier use of alternative fuel-vehicles for years. According to a GreenBiz article written by consultancy firm Oliver Wyman, the beermaker Anheuser-Busch has set up a fleet of compressed natural gas trucks to deliver ale on consistent routes from its Houston brewery to wholesalers; Lowe’s uses natural gas trucks at its distribution centers in seven states; and companies that regularly ship large quantities of merchandise, such as Procter & Gamble and Walmart, have been pushing for delivery services to start using natural gas vehicles.

Aside from the greenhouse gas reduction that accompanies increasing use of alternative fuel vehicles, the Oliver Wyman authors wrote that the fuel can also be cheaper for logistics and delivery companies. When gas prices rise, the savings can make it particularly attractive to operate using less gasoline.

This news comes ahead of an approaching international conference where world leaders hope to strike the first-ever legally binding greenhouse gas reduction deal applying to all countries. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, transportation accounts for 13 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. The conference will begin Nov. 30 in Paris.