The propane fleet will replace gasoline- and diesel-fueled vehicles used largely in rural areas in Louisiana and Oklahoma with other states pending. The vehicles on these routes can travel up to 200 miles on a tank of propane. Operations will begin by mid-2014 and be completed early next year.
UPS tested 20 propane-powered brown delivery trucks successfully this past winter in Gainesville, Ga., and expanded its order with Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp. UPS uses a “rolling laboratory” approach to test different fuel sources and technologies according to their route characteristics. The new propane fleet is expected to travel more than 25 million miles and to displace approximately 3.5 million gallons of conventional gasoline and diesel per year.
“The opportunity to road test new propane vehicles and fueling equipment with one of the most sophisticated fleets in the country is a major milestone for the propane industry,” said Roy Willis, president and CEO of PERC. “This announcement is the culmination of many entities bringing together the best in propane technology to achieve the greatest economic and environmental results.”
The UPS deployment this year benefits from propane autogas’ wide availability as a result of increased natural gas production in the U.S., and there is more price stability with the accessible supply. UPS currently operates nearly 900 propane vehicles in Canada.
About the Vehicles: The Freightliner Custom Chassis built for UPS uses a GM engine. Both the engine and system integration were provided by Powertrain Integration. The propane autogas fuel system was supplied from CleanFuel USA. Development of the engine, fuel platform and chassis were made possible through cooperation between these companies and the Propane Education & Research Council.