UPS Expands Use of Landfill Gas in Heavy-Duty Trucks

Tim Boyle/Bloomberg News

UPS Inc. said it would begin to use renewable natural gas to power 140 heavy-duty trucks in its fleets in Jackson, Mississippi, and Memphis, Tennessee, as part of a program it announced earlier to expand use of the fuel.

The trucks will use an estimated 15 million diesel-gallon gas equivalents of RNG, which  is derived from methane released at a landfill, as part of a multiyear agreement with Memphis Light, Gas and Water and Atmos Energy Marketing, UPS said.

UPS ranks No. 1 on the Transport Topics Top 100  list of the largest U.S. and Canadian for-hire carriers.

“We are using methane that otherwise would be released into the atmosphere as a greenhouse-gas emission and converting it to power our trucks while helping to promote the use of this renewable fuel in transportation,” Mark Wallace, UPS senior vice president of global engineering and sustainability, said in a release.

UPS said it has a goal of driving 1 billion miles with its alternative-fuels fleet by the end of 2017. It said it operates a natural-gas fleet of more than 3,800 medium- and heavy-duty vehicles worldwide. UPS operates an additional 2,540 vehicles that are all-electric, hybrid electric, hydraulic hybrid, are  propane-fueled or have light-weight fuel-saving composite body vehicles, the company said.

RNG, also known as biomethane, can be derived from many abundant and renewable sources, including decomposing organic waste in landfills, wastewater treatment and agriculture, UPS said. Pipelines then distribute for processing and use as liquefied natural gas or compressed natural gas.


Memphis Light CEO Jerry Collins described the deal as impressive. “Kudos to UPS for not only talking the talk but walking the walk,” he said in a statement.

Mark Bergeron, president of Atmos Energy Marketing, said, “Renewable natural gas is one of the most environmentally friendly transportation fuels. We are excited that UPS is taking the initiative to expand its natural-gas fleet.”