UPS Drives One Billion Cleaner Miles, Meeting Goal Early - Global Trade Magazine
  August 4th, 2016 | Written by

UPS Drives One Billion Cleaner Miles, Meeting Goal Early

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  • UPS reached its goal of driving one-billion miles with alternative fuels a year early.
  • 12% of conventional fuels previously used by the UPS ground fleet has been replaced by alternatives.
  • UPS has invested $750 million in alternative fuel, advanced technology vehicles, and fueling stations since 2009.

UPS has announced that it has achieved its goal of driving one-billion miles in its alternative fuel and advanced technology fleet one year earlier than planned.

UPS deepened its commitment to alternative fuels in 2012, when it set the goal of reaching one-billion miles driven with alternative fuels by the end of 2017. Shattering that goal one year early, about 12 percent of the conventional diesel and gasoline fuel previously used by UPS’s ground fleet is now being replaced by alternative fuels including renewable natural gas and renewable diesel.

“We had a big sustainability goal as we set out to make the most of our rolling laboratory by driving one-billion clean miles in alternative fuel vehicles,” said David Abney, Chairman and CEO, UPS. “That’s the equivalent of well over 4,000 trips to the moon.”

UPS’s commitment to seeking out alternative fuels dates back to the 1930s when UPS tested electric vehicles, Abney noted. “With more than 100,000 drivers logging more than three-billion miles per year, our future depends on our ability to meet the growing demand for global trade while reducing our impact on the environment,” he added.

Recognizing alternative fuels and advanced technologies each have unique advantages depending on the routes and geographies in which they are used, UPS deploys the more than 7,200 vehicles in the Rolling Lab to determine what works best in each situation. From old-fashioned pedal power and electric-assisted bicycles in dense urban areas like London and Hamburg to electric and hybrid electric vehicles in the U.S., and natural gas, renewable natural gas, and propane globally, UPS is putting sustainability innovation into action, all over the world.

“Many congested cities around the world are implementing zero tailpipe emissions zones, and UPS is keeping ahead of the curve by investing in advanced technologies and creating the commercial delivery fleet of the future,” said Abney.

By the end of 2016, UPS will have invested more than $750 million in alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles and fueling stations globally since 2009. That continued investment, combined with supportive government policies and a collaborative set of partners, has helped to expand development and utilization of alternative fuels, vehicles and infrastructure throughout the world.

Along the way UPS learned several lessons that can help other companies make sustainability investments that create long-term payoffs. UPS applied its expertise in logistics to the sustainability challenge and leveraged the scale of its 100,000 vehicle fleet to drive technology, market, and infrastructure improvements that make cleaner fuels and technologies economically viable.

The fuels and vehicles that work in one region or one setting may not make sense in another. Technology constraints, range, infrastructure availability, government policies, and local air quality goals all play a role in determining vehicle deployment and fuel selection.

UPS is able to see 30,000 delivery route optimizations per minute through its On-Road Integrated Optimization and Navigation (ORION) system, which uses fleet telematics and algorithms to reduce the number of miles driven. The application of this big data approach to the UPS Rolling Lab’s fleet has been a key enabler to improving performance and reducing costs.

UPS reports its progress annually in its Sustainability Report, and includes key metrics such as CO2 emissions, energy consumption, and alternative fuel and advanced technology miles driven, among others. Together, these metrics demonstrate the positive impact of the company’s sustainability and social responsibility programs.

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