United Parcel Service (UPS) has met its goal of driving one billion miles in its alternative fuel and advanced technology fleet one year earlier than planned.

UPS had set the goal in 2012 of reaching the billion mile mark in alternative fuel vehicles by the end of 2017. About 12 percent of the conventional diesel and gasoline fuel previously used by UPS’s ground fleet is now being replaced by alternative fuels including natural gas, propane autogas, renewable natural gas, renewable diesel, and through hybrid and plug-in electrified vehicles. The global delivery company details how its fleet goals were met in its 14th annual Sustainability Report, along with more than 10 years of findings from its “Rolling Laboratory” project.

By the end of 2016, UPS predicts it will have invested more than $750 million in alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles and fueling stations globally since 2009.

“While attaining this goal is new, our commitment to seeking out alternative fuels actually dates back to the 1930s when UPS tested electric vehicles,” said David Abney, Chairman and CEO of UPS. “With more than 100,000 drivers logging more than 3 billion miles per year, our future depends on our ability to meet the growing demand for global trade while reducing our impact on the environment.”

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UPS deploys the more than 7,200 vehicles in the Rolling Lab to determine what works best in each situation, and this includes alternative transportation modes in global markets. Findings from the Rolling Lab include pedal power and electric-assisted bicycles working well in dense urban areas such as London and Hamburg; hybrid and PEVs in the U.S.; and natural gas, renewable natural gas, and propane globally.

Application of new technologies has helped UPS meeting its sustainability and efficiency goals. UPS is able to see 30,000 delivery route optimizations per minute through its On-Road Integrated Optimization and Navigation (ORION) system, which uses fleet telematics and algorithms to reduce the number of miles driven. When fully implemented, ORION is expected to help UPS avoid 100 million miles driven every year, reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 100,000 metric tons annually, and avoid 10 million gallons of fuel per year.

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