UPS Deploys Alternative Fuel Class 8 Tractors

December 26, 2002 by Jeff Shepard

UPS (Atlanta, GA) introduced 10 liquefied natural gas (LNG), alternative fuel, Class 8 tractors that will officially begin operating in the company's West Coast fleet each day hauling two 28ft trailers on the 545-mile trip between Ontario, CA, and Las Vegas, NV. The tractors will also be used to pick up trailers filled by large-volume customers. Together, the vehicles will haul more than 31,000 packages a day.

The LNG tractors are part of UPS's "rolling laboratories" strategy. The LNG engines were manufactured using newly developed Dual-Fuel™ technology, which allows the engine to start on a small amount of diesel fuel before switching automatically to LNG as the primary fuel source. The cost of LNG averages about $0.65 to $0.70 per gallon, compared to $1.40 to $1.50 per gallon of diesel (although it does take almost two gallons of LNG to equal one gallon of diesel.) In addition, the LNG and compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling station at the UPS facility in Ontario supplies fuel for city buses, waste management vehicles and other companies with LNG or CNG vehicles.