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Propane powers the latest fleet of UPS delivery trucks

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The alternative fuel will save 3.5 million gallons of gasoline and diesel annually.

UPS is rolling out a new fleet of 1,000 propane-powered delivery trucks in Oklahoma and Louisiana. The trucks will hit the road soon in – mid-2014 – and replace gasoline- and diesel-fueled vehicles currently being used in that part of the country.

UPS is on track to have traveled 1 billion miles using alternative fuel and technology vehicles by the end of 2017.

UPS collaborated with the nonprofit Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) to obtain certification from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and California Air Resources Board. UPS's infrastructure investment totals $70 million for the alternative fuel trucks and 50 fueling stations at UPS locations.

"The UPS alternative fuel strategy is to invest in the most environmentally friendly and economical sources," says David Abney, chief operating officer at UPS. Propane meets those criteria and is readily available, especially on rural routes in the United States, Abney says. "States that attract this type of investment with tax incentives and grants will factor into the UPS deployment strategy."

Gainesville, Ga., served as a test site for 20 propane-powered delivery trucks over the winter months, and the successful test led to an expanded order with Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp. Plans call for the new 1,000-truck fleet to log more than 25 million miles, and to displace about 3.5 million gallons of gasoline and diesel fuel annually. Some 900 propane-powered delivery trucks are already on the road in Canada.

UPS tests different alternative fuels and technologies using a "rolling laboratory" approach based on route characteristics. UPS has already built one of the largest alternative fuel fleets in the United States, with more than 3,150 alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles on the road. This total includes all-electric, hybrid electric, hydraulic hybrid, compressed natural gas, liquefied natural gas, propane and biomethane fuels – in combination with lightweight, fuel-saving composite body vehicles. 

The company has set a goal to reach 1 billion miles in alternative fuel and technology vehicles by the end of 2017. To learn more about the full range of UPS's sustainability initiatives, download the 2012 Corporate Sustainability Report or check out this video.

Watch a video about ways you can make your company's packaging more sustainable.

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