Some of those big brown trucks we rely on to deliver our packages will soon be running on renewable diesel. Made from vegetable oils or fats, this fuel is more refined than regular biodiesel and chemically identical to traditional diesel.

UPS truck

UPS will purchase about fifteen million gallons of renewable diesel every year for the next three years, enough to power about 7,500, or 7-1/2 percent of its vehicles. Mike Whitlatch, Vice President of Energy Procurement, says it’s a move that makes sense on many levels.

Because of its chemical makeup, there’s no limit to how much renewable diesel can be mixed with the traditional fuel; it can be transported and stored with existing pipelines and tanks, and used in vehicles with no modifications.

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The cost and mileage per gallon is about the same, and renewable diesel emits less pollution than traditional diesel when the trucks are started in cold weather.

Whitlatch: “You couple all those things together, and that becomes a very, very compelling argument to transition to renewable diesel.”

But Whitlatch says there are currently only five refineries worldwide that produce it. So more are needed for greater adoption – by UPS or others.

Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media.
Photo source: Wikimedia.

More Resources
UPS agrees to buy 46 million gallons of renewable diesel
UPS Press Release
UPS Corporate Climate Change Statement

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