UPS Inc. said Tuesday it will buy about 700 liquefied natural gas-fueled trucks and build four refueling stations by the end of next year, as it adds to its alternative-fuel fleet.
Once completed, the company’s LNG fleet will be one of the biggest in the United States, the company said in a statement.
“LNG will be a viable alternative transportation fuel for UPS in the next decade as a bridge between traditional fossil fuels and emerging renewable alternative fuels and technologies that are not quite ready for broad-based long-term commercial deployment,” Chairman and CEO Scott Davis said.
The New York Times reported Tuesday that UPS and other fleets are seeking to boost their use of natural gas-powered vehicles as more shippers — including large companies such as Nike and Procter & Gamble — are looking for carriers with natural-gas trucks to move their goods.
UPS said its initial investment of more than $18 million to build fueling stations will be supported by the purchase of the 700 tractors and continued expansion of its U.S. natural-gas fleet.
UPS, which has more than 1,000 natural-gas vehicles on the road, operates 112 LNG tractor-trailers from fueling stations in Las Vegas, Phoenix, Salt Lake City and Beaver, Utah, and has an LNG fueling station in Ontario, Calif.
UPS said it will build the new fueling stations in Knoxville, Nashville and Memphis, Tenn., and in Dallas, to serve big rigs traveling into adjacent states.
With the addition of accessible LNG fueling stations, UPS will add LNG trucks on routes from Dallas, Houston and San Antonio, Texas, further extending its territory.
UPS, which will report its first-quarter earnings on Thursday morning, is ranked No. 1 on the Transport Topics 100 listing of U.S. and Canadian for-hire carriers.