Environmental Responsibility

Fuels & Fleets

Every day, UPS is faced with a complex challenge. How do we deliver more while using less?

Our journey toward a less carbon-intensive future is largely enabled through one of the industry’s largest private alternative fuel and advanced technology fleets, a “rolling laboratory” of more than 10,000 vehicles that drives more than 1 million cleaner miles each business day. We practice fuel-reduction strategies across our entire fleet of 119,000 ground vehicles, including technology-powered route planning to reduce fuel and emissions, and diligent maintenance to help vehicles run efficiently.

UPS Rolling Lab – Sustainability on the Road

We have gone far, but there is much more to do to reach our ambitious goals for our fleet and facilities:

  • Achieve a 12% reduction in absolute Greenhouse Gas emissions across our global ground operations by 2025;
  • Source 25% of our total electricity needs from renewable sources by 2025;
  • Source 40% of our ground fuel from low carbon or alternative fuels by 2025; and
  • Expanding our rolling laboratory – 25% of annual vehicle purchases by 2020 will be alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles

These commitments will result in cleaner emissions and help to commercialize the market for alternative fuels, such as renewable diesel and renewable natural gas.

UPS has a history of testing and deploying a variety of vehicle types that reaches back to electric vehicles in the 1930s. We match energy types and usage to the terrain and delivery conditions at each location. This approach helps UPS continuously integrate new technologies and operational efficiencies in our large, global delivery fleet. While monitoring each vehicle’s performance, we work with manufacturers, government agencies and non-profit organizations to advance new technologies. Because the more we discover together, the more sustainable we become and the more we help others move forward, too.

Alternative Fuels & Advanced Technologies

UPS has always been an early adopter of innovative technologies. In the early 1930s, we introduced electric vehicles into our fleet. Today, we operate one of the industry’s largest private alternative fuel and advanced technology fleets made up of more than 10,000 low-emissions vehicles. Check out the Saving Fuel Fact Sheet to learn more about each vehicle type, including all-electrics, electric hybrids, hydraulic hybrids, propane, compressed natural gas (CNG), liquefied natural gas (LNG) and biomethane.

UPS Rolling Laboratory

Since 2000, our alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles have logged more than 1 billion miles in the U.S., Argentina, Barbados, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Hong Kong, Japan, Mexico, The Netherlands, Puerto Rico, Thailand and the United Kingdom. With more than 100,000 drivers logging more than 3 billion miles per year in our total fleet, our future depends on our ability to meet the growing demand for global trade while reducing our impact on the environment. UPS is putting sustainability innovation into action, all over the world.

Since 2008, UPS has invested more than $1 billion in alternative vehicles and fueling stations globally. We now have a total of 51 natural gas fueling stations across the U.S. and over 5,200 natural gas vehicles driving more than 1 million miles each business day globally.

In 2017, 12 percent of our new vehicles purchased — more than 1,190 vehicles — were either alternative fuel or advanced technology. A total of 21.8 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.

In 2017, UPS continued investing in our natural gas fleet. We committed to investing more than $90 million in natural gas vehicles and infrastructure, including building six new compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling stations, and purchasing nearly 450 new natural gas vehicles. This builds upon a $100 million investment in CNG fueling stations and vehicles made in 2016. Since 2009, UPS has invested more than $1 billion in alternative vehicles and fueling stations globally. We now have a total of 51 natural gas fueling stations across the U.S. and over 5,200 natural gas vehicles driving more than 1 million miles each business day globally.

These continued investments, combined with supportive government policies, and a collaborative set of partners have helped to expand development and utilization of alternative fuels, vehicles and infrastructure throughout the world.

Fuel Supply

Trash to Gas – How UPS Utilizes Biomethane

Because fuel is such an integral part of keeping our promise to customers, UPS must always ensure the accessibility and integrity of our fuel supplies. So we practice diligent, responsible fuel sourcing as part of our comprehensive approach to energy use and emission reduction. Our sourcing practices also help combat the ever-changing conditions in a volatile energy market where costs will rise or fall based on weather, economic growth and demographic factors. One promising fuel we are proud to invest in is renewable natural gas – which you can learn more about in the infographic above.

Renewable natural gas (RNG), also known as biomethane, can be derived from many abundant and sustainable sources, including decomposing organic waste in landfills, wastewater treatment, and agriculture. It is then distributed through the natural gas pipeline system, making it available for use as liquefied natural gas (LNG) or compressed natural gas (CNG).

In 2017, we announced a five-year agreement with AMP Americas for 1.5 million gallons of RNG per year from the Fair Oaks dairy farm in Indiana, and a 10-million-gallon per year purchase from Big Ox Energy that runs through 2024. The Big Ox agreement is our largest investment in RNG to date, as well as one of the largest in the RNG market overall. In 2017, UPS used over 15 million gallons of RNG in our fleet.

Natural gas is a key building block in our reduction of GHG emissions. With these collaborations, we’re not only improving our own fleet operations — we’re helping move our industry forward.

Electrification Gains Momentum

Over the next decade and beyond, the logistics industry is poised to take a significant leap forward through the electrification of transportation.

Continued advances in vehicle range and cost will drive adoption of electric vehicles, while innovations in battery technology and solar energy will help address infrastructure challenges. With roughly 1,000 electric or hybrid electric vehicles already in operation in cities around the world, UPS expects to continue to lead the charge on electrification of medium-duty vehicles over the next five years.

Investments made in 2017 are bringing us closer to this goal:

  • Announced a pre-order of 125 of Tesla’s new fully electric semitractor-trailer, which is expected to begin production in 2019.
  • Committed to be the first commercial customer in the U.S. to use a new line of medium-duty zero-noise and zero-emission electric trucks — called the eCanter — from Daimler Trucks’ Fuso brand.
  • Advanced plans to deploy a first-of-its-kind zero tailpipe emissions fuel cell electric delivery vehicle in Sacramento and Ontario, California.

Air Fleet

A Lower Carbon Footprint in the Air

UPS Airlines is a critical component of our logistics network, helping us to quickly connect our customers around the world. While our air fleet is also a large portion of our global environmental footprint, we help to reduce the absolute GHG emissions associated with the shipping activities of our customers and achieve the most optimal and efficient air network with initiatives focused on reducing fuel use.

See the infographic above to learn about many of the ways we are being more efficient in the air.

We have one of the youngest fleets in the industry with fuel-efficient aircraft and our existing older models have been retrofitted to make them more efficient — which helps us to have a lower carbon footprint. We continue to make significant capital investments in new, more fuel-efficient aircraft. Over the next five years, we will address growing U.S. and international demand by taking delivery of 14 Boeing 747-8 freighter jets between 2017 and 2020 and exercising an option for an additional 14 between 2019 and 2022. The new wing and engine design on the 747-8 reduces fuel consumption and carbon emissions by 16 percent over the 747-400F. The aircraft also operates 52 percent below the International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) nitrous oxide limits and is 30 percent quieter than other jumbo cargo jets. Adding these freighters will progressively increase our ability to optimize our air network, opening up more capacity as we reassign equipment to operations across the world.

After thrust, air conditioning packs are the largest consumers of jet fuel on commercial aircraft. To help reduce fuel use, we have installed eco-control modules on our entire 747-400 fleet. The module allows one of the three pressure and air conditioning packs to be turned off, leaving the two remaining packs on without switching them into high-flow mode. This reduces jet fuel consumption approximately 0.72 percent due to reduced cruise fuel burn, which adds up to measurable savings over the thousands of flights our jets make every year.

We have a number of other initiatives in place to reduce our air fleet’s carbon footprint:

  • Implemented a fuel management software that provides enhanced analytics and visibility of fuel consumption, and identifies areas for further reduction
  • Completed a multiyear project implementing a new takeoff and landing performance system 2016. The new on-board system automates takeoff and landing performance calculations to help make the best and safest decisions.
  • Working with the Federal Aviation Administration on the next-generation (“NextGen”) air traffic control and surface traffic management systems. This system improves efficiency, reduces radio congestion, and enhances our ability to save fuel during taxiing. We are working with the FAA to pioneer this program for the industry.

These efforts support our primary strategy to reduce the amount of fuel we burn, which, in turn, lowers our greenhouse gas emissions and the overall carbon intensity of UPS Airlines. UPS lowers flight speeds, reduces weight where possible, optimizes flight paths, washes aircraft engines regularly and uses technology to increase precision of aircraft departures, arrivals and taxi times.