ATLANTA (AP) — UPS is spending $50 million to more than triple the current number of liquefied natural gas fueling stations it owns. The delivery company, and others that maintain a large fleet of vehicles, are trying to capitalize on the enormous amounts of natural gas that has been unlocked in the U.S. by new drilling technology.
Natural gas is cheaper than gasoline and creates less pollution, but it has been underutilized in vehicles because it requires additional infrastructure, such as fueling stations. United Parcel Service Inc., which has 1,000 natural gas tractors in its fleet, said the use of such vehicles will help eliminate the need for 24 million gallons of diesel fuel every year. UPS started adding natural gas tractors in 2002.
The Atlanta company said Tuesday that it will build nine fueling stations, bringing its total number of stations to 13. They will be located in Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas. It already started building stations in Tennessee and Texas. "Building these fueling stations is a solid future investment for UPS," said David Abney, the company's chief operating officer. "Since vehicles represent approximately 35 percent of UPS's carbon footprint, a cornerstone of the company's environmental strategy is to support the development and use of lower-emission alternative fuels."
The company said it has about 2,700 alternative fuel vehicles in its fleet, including electric, hybrid electric and liquid propane gas vehicles.