Earlier this year, we reported on UPS's investment in 700 new liquefied natural gas (LNG) Class-8 trucks. Today, the company announced the opening of 13 additional LNG filling stations for its trucks in Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Texas. This is in addition to the already-announced facilities under construction in Tennessee and Texas. UPS has four currently operational LNG filling facilities in Arizona, Utah, Nevada, and California. The company estimates that its current fleet of 1000 LNG-powered trucks has displaced 24 million gallons of diesel fuel.
The initiative is part of the company's goal of 1 billion alternative-fuel miles driven by 2017. UPS already has 2700 alternative-fuel vehicles in its fleet, including electric, hybrid, CNG, LNG, propane (LPG), and biomethane. An additional reason for UPS's investment in natural gas is its lower price volatility relative to petroleum diesel fuel.
In the Class-8 segment, LNG is generally favored over CNG for its higher-density storage and longer potential range. However, it requires specialized high-pressure, low-temperature fueling facilities, and special training by the drivers to fill safely. UPS plans to test a pilot program of CNG-fueled tractor-trailers in the first quarter of 2014 to explore the concept's feasibility. In addition to its U.S.-based alternative fuel investments, UPS also maintains a fleet of 20 biomethane-powered vehicles in the U.K.