UPS and FedEx Look to Cleaner Vehicles

What can brown do for you? Go green, apparently. That’s right: United Parcel Service and Federal Express have begun phasing out diesel engines from their combined 100, 000 vehicles in favor of cleaner, less expensive fuels. Today, UPS boasts about 2,000 vans running on alternative fuels, from compressed natural gas to electricity. And both companies say that more converted trucks, with more green technologies — including diesel-electric hybrids and hydrogen fuel cells — are to come. The companies say that although cleaner engines are more expensive up front, they are cheaper to maintain and operate. Compressed natural gas cuts fuel costs 15 percent and emits 35 percent less pollution; hybrid engines cut costs by 50 percent and emissions by 90 percent. That’s good news for anyone who’d like to see a little less smog in the air, because where the two delivery giants lead, others will follow — not least because mass purchasing will make more efficient trucks cheaper for everyone.