UPS hits the gas on greener delivery truck fleet

By Lisa Baertlein

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Starting next year, there will be a lot more “green” in those brown UPS delivery trucks.

United Parcel Service Inc on Wednesday announced plans to buy more than 6,000 natural gas-powered trucks over three years and step up purchases of renewable natural gas (RNG) as part of a new $450 million investment to reduce the environmental impact of its 123,000-vehicle fleet.

The latest move from the world’s largest package delivery firm comes as utility companies, investors and others seek to expand the use of RNG – which is derived from decomposing organic matter such as cow manure on dairy farms, discarded food in landfills and human waste in water treatment plants – to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

RNG and natural gas from fossil fuel are both methane and can be used interchangeably. Natural gas vehicles are less polluting than those that run on unleaded gasoline or diesel, but RNG has the added benefits of replacing fossil fuel and preventing naturally occurring methane – a powerful greenhouse gas – from being released into the environment.

UPS’s latest effort “allows for seamless integration of a truly renewable, organic fuel source into the fleet,” Mike Whitlatch, UPS’s vice president of global energy and procurement, told Reuters.

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