July 20, 2011 Leave a comment
National Carriers United Parcel Service and FedEx are thinking green. Both are part of Obama’s National Clean Partnership, which aims at reducing fuel consumption through measures such as electric vehicles and alternative fuels. FedEx and UPS are rivals in the sustainability movement. Other companies joining the movement include AT&T, Verizon Wireless, and PepsiCo. UPS, FedEx and PepsiCo are also members of EPA’s SmartWay Program that focuses on cutting fuel use and greenhouse gases. These companies make up five out of ten of the Nation’s largest commercial fleets.
Obama created this initiative to reduce the nation’s reliance on foreign oil. The US consumes 25% of the world’s oil and contains 2% of the world’s oil reserve. In 2008, US imported around 11 million barrels of oil a day. By 2009, 4 billion gallons of fuel was being consumed by over 3 million commercial fleet vehicles. Obama states that the US uses 70% of its oil for transportation. On April 1st near UPS customer center in Landover, Obama spoke about Clean Fleet Partnership. “Even if we used every last drop of all the oil we have, it wouldn’t be enough to meet our long-term energy needs. So, real energy security can only come if we find ways to use less oil – if we invest in cleaner fuels and greater efficiency.”
The five companies operate over 275,000 vehicles. Clean Fleet plans to put an additional 20,000 electric vehicles like hybrid trucks on the road. They also want to conserve around 7 million gallons of diesel by having vehicles rely on electricity, natural gas, biodiesel, ethanol, hydrogen or propane. The benefits of switching over to these fuel saving measures include the economy being less vulnerable to fluctuating oil prices and less detriment to the environment. The Department of Energy will assist companies by providing technical expertise and logistical support.
The Coalition’s objectives include reduction of foreign oil imports by 33% by 2025 and a cut in commercial fleet gas consumption of 2.5 billion gallons by 2020. Through fuel-efficient vehicles, AT&T has already saved 1 million gallons of petroleum in 2010. Obama hopes that this partnership “will help reduce our dependence on oil, protect our planet, and spur economic growth.”
The Clean Fleet initiative could usher in a new age of acceptance and interest in alternative energies. One of the reasons the Clean Fleet Movement has not been widespread is due not to concern over sustainability, but the cost of converting to more sustainable means. Most companies do not have access to things such as hydrogen-powered vehicles. The Department of Energy has smoothed the transition to alternative energies for the five charter companies by providing resources. “It’s not that corporations or carriers are against the use of alternative fuel powered vehicles, they simply don’t want to have to bear the costs of converting their fleets” said Brittain Ladd, global supply chain consultant for CapGemini Consulting. “The Clean Fleets program provides the mechanism for increased collaboration among leading carriers”.
Staring March 1st, 2011, LaserShip – an East-Coast based Regional Carrier – has been implemnting eco-sensitive policies such as making employees receive paychecks through direct deposit or accessing payroll-related information electronically. This will reduce the printing of paper paystubs, reducing paper consumption and therefore, saving trees. In March 2008, LaserShip partnered with American Forests to launch the first of the two Ship Green initiatives. The first initiative aimed at converting LaserShip customers from paper invoicing to e-Billing. LaserShip donated a tree to American Forests for every customer that made the switch. “We all have a responsibility to reduce our environmental footprint,” said Blake Averill, Executive VP of Sales and Marketing, back in 2008. “The Ship Green initiative is an opportunity for us to offer an easier and more environmentally friendly way for our clients to receive, review and pay their LaserShip invoice.” Since 2008, over 800 LaserShip customers have converted from paper to e-Billing.
In August 2008 LaserShip launched the second Ship Green Initiative, which started to incorporate alternative fueled delivery vehicles into its fleet. These vehicles include natural gas powered, bio-diesel, and hybrid electric. “Our latest Ship Green initiative shows our commitment to pursue the use of promising technologies that both reduce fuel costs and provide more environmentally responsive vehicles for the communities in which we live and work” said Averill. “Our alternative fueled delivery vehicles will improve fuel economy by 42 percent, reduce greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 30 percent and cut particulate pollution by 96 percent” added Fred Aryan, President of LaserShip. “Our couriers consume a tremendous amount of energy, and it is incumbent upon us to find better and more efficient ways to provide service.”