Kenworth Fleet to Be Augmented, Macks & CNG in New Plan
‘Every Tractor We Buy for Domestic Ops Will Be Natural Gas’
UPS is adding even more natural gas vehicles to its existing fleet of 112 LNG tractors, augmenting recently announced plans for some 700 new LNG trucks with word that it would add 250 more, plus 35 fueled by CNG – all part of an additional $75 million for natural gas transportation to be invested by the end of 2014.
Kenworth dominates the current UPS fleet of liquefied natural gas tractors and is expected to notch more significant orders.
But Mack Trucks is getting in too with UPS, as it’s to supply 122 Pinnacle Axle Back tractors with the new ISX12 G engine from Cummins Westport, to be delivered during the fourth quarter of 2013.
‘Every Possible Option’
Freightliners? “We are looking at every possible option,” says UPS ground fleet maintenance and engineering director Mike Britt.
“In just the last five years, we’ve committed to invest more than a quarter of a billion dollars to deploy more than 2,700 alternative fuel and alternative technology vehicles around the world,” COO David Abney said at ACT Expo 2013 in Washington, D.C.
“Since 2000, our vehicles have traveled more than 300 million miles on alternative fuels.”
The UPS fleet includes more than 1,000 compressed natural gas package cars, and “everything from propane and ethanol to electricity and biomethane,” Abney said.
NGVs ‘the Primary Focus’
“In Louisiana, we use biodiesel made from chicken fat. It’s not something you’d ever want to eat, but it’s fine for your gas tank.”
Natural gas, however, is “the primary focus.”
UPS said this past spring that it will build four new LNG fueling stations by the end 2014 in Knoxville, Nashville, Dallas and Memphis. Now, says Abney, there will be nine more.
“Previously,” he said in Washington, “you couldn’t find a CNG tractor that delivered 400 horsepower and the range we needed. Today, they deliver all that…
“They also enable us to add more CNG package cars because they can use the same fueling stations,” he said.
All Gas in 2014
“That means that every tractor we buy for our domestic operations next year will be natural gas.”
Abney talked about drivers’ habits and the important of advanced fleet management (to reduce miles driven), and made several strong policy observations in Washington too. He noted, for example, that since the federal excise tax of 12% on the price of a new truck is applied to the incremental alt fuel as well as to base costs, the federal government is collecting extra “from companies like UPS that are trying to do the right thing by buying an LNG tractor.
Tax Should Be Based on Energy Content
“We believe that we should not be penalized for trying to make a difference,” Abney said, “and there should be no extra tax above that collected on a conventional truck.
“Another hindrance is the way that LNG fuel is taxed,” he said. “Because of its lower energy density, it takes 1.7 gallons of LNG to equal the energy output of a gallon of diesel. But that difference is ignored in how LNG is taxed.
“As a result, LNG costs 17 cents more in taxes than the ‘energy equivalent’ amount of diesel fuel, “Abney said. “We believe LNG should be taxed on an energy equivalent rate to diesel.”
500 Million Miles by 2015
“Without support from the government in the early stages,” he said in Washington, “it can be very hard to make the business case for adoption,” he said.
Still for UPS, the momentum is building. According to Abney at ACT Expo, it took UPS six years to log its first 100 million green miles, and five years for the next 100 million.
“We’ve run our latest 100 million in just two years,” he said, and “we expect to reach 500 million miles in 2015.”
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Source: Fleets & Fuels at ACT Expo 2013 in Washington, D.C.