HOUSTON - UPS announced its fleet of alternative-fuel vehicles has expanded with the deployment of 25 next-generation hybrid electric delivery trucks to Houston.

At the UPS facility in Stafford, Texas, Governor Rick Perry was on hand to welcome the new vehicles to Houston. He was joined by state Sen. Tommy Williams and state Rep. Elect Ron Reynolds.

Currently, 50 UPS hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) operate in Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, and Phoenix. The 25 trucks deployed here are part of 200 new HEVs deployed recently to eight U.S. cities. The 200 new trucks will operate in Austin, Houston, Philadelphia, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Long Island, Minneapolis and Louisville.

"This technology, where properly used, can yield a 35-percent fuel savings, the equivalent of 100 conventional UPS delivery vehicles," said Bob Stoffel, UPS senior vice president of Supply Chain Strategy, Engineering, and Sustainability.

The 200 new HEV package cars are expected to reduce fuel consumption by roughly 176,000 gallons over the course of a year compared to an equivalent number of traditional diesel trucks. The hybrids also should reduce by 1,786 metric tons the amount of CO2 gases released annually into the atmosphere.

The new hybrid power system utilizes a conventional diesel engine combined with a battery pack, saving fuel and reducing pollution-causing emissions. The small diesel is used to recharge the battery pack and to add power when necessary.

The HEV fleet features a chassis from Freightliner Custom Chassis Corporation and a hybrid power system from Eaton Corporation. The external truck bodies are identical to UPS's other signature brown trucks, although they feature additional labeling identifying them as hybrid electrics. The trucks use lithium ion batteries, which offer a faster re-charging capability and last longer than previous generation HEV batteries. Additionally, these vehicles are much quieter than conventional UPS trucks.

The UPS alternative-fuel fleet is comprised of multiple technologies, including compressed natural gas, liquefied natural gas, propane, electricity, and hydraulic hybrid technology. Since 2000, the alternative-fuel fleet has traveled more than 165 million miles.

"The wide variety of technologies in our green fleet is indicative of UPS's 'rolling laboratory' philosophy to energy efficiency and reduced fuel consumption," Stoffel said. "Our goal is to reduce dependence on fossil fuels, but there is no silver bullet technology to achieve this. This dependence will rely on a multi-modal approach."