UPS (NYSE: UPS) announced the purchase of 48 heavy tractor trucks equipped to run on Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG).
The trucks will replace older generation diesel vehicles currently in use in the western U.S. The LNG trucks are expected to produce 25% fewer greenhouse gas emissions compared to the older trucks and use 95% less diesel fuel than the vehicles they replace.
According to Mike Britt, UPS's director of vehicle engineering, there are multiple technologies and alternative fuels being explored or deployed today to provide propulsion for small- and mid-sized trucks. "But at the moment, LNG is the only suitable alternative to diesel for the really heavy, long-haul tractor trailers you see on the highway," he added. "As a fuel, LNG is very dense, providing a large amount of energy for the amount of space it occupies. This makes LNG an excellent potential fuel for large trucks that need to travel a long distance before refueling."
UPS is the only private delivery company using this technology in its
fleet and now has more than 1,100 natural gas-powered vehicles in
LNG technology uses natural gas as the main fuel with a small amount of
diesel delivered at high pressure to the combustion chamber. Manufactured by Kenworth, the LNG tractors are powered by Westport HD Systems and initially will pull trailers on a transit lane linking Ontario, Calif., and Las Vegas, Nev., along with UPS's 11 existing LNG tractors.
UPS operates one of the largest private fleets of alternative fuel vehicles in its industry--1,914 in total. Since 2000, UPS's "green fleet" has traveled more than 185 million miles, the company said. Besides LNG, UPS has deployed Compressed Natural Gas, propane, electric and hybrid electric vehicles in the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Brazil, the United Kingdom and Hong Kong.