UPS going green with 90 million dollar investment in natural gas powered vehicles and fueling stations

UPS Natural Gas Vehicle being refueled at station. (Source: Photo: Business Wire)

UPS just announced yet another step into taking control of the alternative fuel market while continuing to reduce its environmental footprint.

And what would this new step be?

Natural gas.

The shipping giant has put into paper that it plans to build an additional six compressed natural gas fueling stations all across North America. Not only could this prove to be an excellent investment in term of profits for UPS, but it may also just be the push they needed to get ahead of their competitors concerning public opinion.

Still, this new jab towards the future will cost no less than $90 million in investments.

The news was first released in a UPS Pressroom statement. There, UPS’s senior vice president of global engineering and sustainability, Marc Wallace, explained why the company was taking another leap in this direction.

“With more than 4,400 natural gas vehicles and a network of fueling stations, UPS has had great results using natural gas as an alternative fuel in our fleet,” Wallace said. “We know the importance of investing in natural gas globally for our fleet and the alternative fuel market. In 2016, we used more than 61 million gallons of natural gas in our ground fleet, which included 4.6 million gallons of renewable natural gas. This helped us to avoid the use of conventional gas and diesel, and decreased CO2 emissions by 100,000 metric tons.”

In this plan, UPS also announced where around the US and Canada the new stations would be located.

North of the border there will be a station in Vancouver, British Columbia. Meanwhile, in the US there will be new stations in Ontario, California; Orlando, Florida; Salina, Kansas; Louisville, Kentucky; and Greensboro, North Carolina.

Places like Louisville are no stranger to UPS and its innovations, and the benefits that come along with those innovations.

When announcing that the city would receive one of the new UPS stations, the Louisville Business First also mentioned that the company is the largest employer in the Louisville area.

The shipping giant has created about 22,000 jobs in the Louisville area so far.

Not only that, Louisville is also home to UPS’s largest air-sorting hub, the Worldport at the Louisville International Airport.

To go along with their new stations, UPS also announced the addition of 390 new compressed natural gas tractors and terminal trucks, as well as 50 liquefied natural gas vehicles, which will be added to its alternative fuel and advanced technology fleet.

$90 million does seem like a steep investment, but when we compare that figure to what UPS has done in the past, it’s nothing more than another drop in the ocean.

According to their press release, the company has invested more than $750 million in alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles as well as fueling stations around the world since 2009.

All of this, under the oversight of something they called the Rolling Laboratory.

Not only it has a sweet name, this lab also has a cool purpose.

Apparently, UPS uses this lab to optimize their fleet in every possible way, tailoring it to the most diverse situations and locations.

It could be anything from testing the effectiveness of using electric bicycles to deliver to urban areas in crowded places like London, to optimizing the use of natural gas vehicles in other parts of the world where it would be not only good for the environment but also more profitable.

Learning about a project like this has to make a customer feel more important. It means that no matter where you live, be it a rural area in Wyoming, or in the heart of Manhattan, UPS is always trying to better your customer experience.

So what do you think about this new step UPS is taking? Do you think it will propel them to new heights, or simply join the list of hopeful investments that ended up backfiring?

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