April 3, 2008

UPS deploys Natural Gas Trucks

This week UPS unleashed 168 Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) delivery trucks. If you live in Texas you'll most likely see some driving around in the near future. Georgia and California are the other two states who received these trucks. The company is making a push toward buffing up its environmental record the past few years. It shifted to dry washing its trucks in Georgia, spent $600M on improving the efficiency of its operations, and outfitted some of their vehicles with a new "hydraulic hybrid" propulsion system.

Of the 168 CNG vehicles deployed, 25 are in Dallas, 42 in Atlanta, and the remaining 100 in 5 California cities: 30 to Sacramento, 14 to Los Angeles, 5 to Ontario, 10 to San Ramon and 41 to Fresno.

There are now over 800 CNG vehicles in use by UPS. They're expected to reduce emissions by 20% and cut fuel costs by 10% over the most efficient diesel engines.

On a side note, these types of engines were made popular in the 1970's and 80's by Mexican drug runners. They would outfit their trucks with multiple CNG tanks and stuff one full of drugs. It was a pretty good plan and Pablo Acosta rose to power through his use of the trucks. He even formed an alliance with the Mexican government and the Colombian cocaine smugglers which made him the most powerful drug dealer in the Hemisphere. You can read about his fascinating life in the book, "Drug Lord: The Life & Death of a Mexican Kingpin - A True Story" by Terrence E. Poppa.

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