ATLANTA, GA — UPS bought 1,000 package delivery propane trucks and is building 50 fueling stations at UPS locations, all of which will cost around $70 million. Operations will begin by mid-2014 and be completed early next year.
The propane fleet will replace gasoline- and diesel-fueled vehicles used largely in rural areas in Louisiana and Oklahoma. The new trucks can travel up to 200 miles on a tank of propane on these routes.
“The UPS alternative fuel strategy is to invest in the most environmentally friendly and economical energy sources,” said David Abney, UPS COO. “Propane meets those criteria as a clean-burning fuel that lowers operating costs and is readily accessible, especially on rural routes in the United States. States that attract this type of investment with tax incentives and grants will factor into the UPS deployment strategy.”
UPS teamed up with the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC), a non-profit propane technology incubator, to work with equipment manufacturers to secure certifications with the EPA and California Air Resources Board.
The Freightliner Custom Chassis built for UPS uses a GM engine. Both the engine and system integration were provided by Powertrain Integration. The propane autogas fuel system was supplied from CleanFuel USA.
UPS tested 20 propane-powered delivery trucks successfully this past winter in Gainesville, Ga., using a “rolling laboratory” approach to test different fuel sources and technologies according to their routes. The new propane fleet is expected to travel more than 25 million miles and to displace approximately 3.5 million gallons of conventional gasoline and diesel per year.
“The opportunity to road test new propane vehicles and fueling equipment with one of the most sophisticated fleets in the country is a major milestone for the propane industry,” said Roy Willis, president and CEO of PERC. “This announcement is the culmination of many entities bringing together the best in propane technology to achieve the greatest economic and environmental results.”
UPS already operates nearly 900 propane vehicles in Canada and has, in total, more than 3,150 alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles. This includes all-electric, hybrid electric, hydraulic hybrid, CNG, LNG, propane, biomethane and light-weight fuel-saving composite body vehicles.
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