ATLANTA - UPS announced the purchase of 130 next generation hybrid-electric vehicles (HEV) to add to its growing alternative-fuel vehicle (AFV) fleet.

The 130 hybrids all will be deployed next year, with 30 going to New York and New Jersey and 100 to California. UPS estimates these vehicles will save 66,085 gallons of fuel and 671 metric tons of CO2 annually, representing a 35 percent improvement in fuel economy - the equivalent of 128 passenger cars being taken off the road, according to UPS.

UPS already operates one of the largest private fleets of alternative-fuel vehicles in the transportation industry - 2,022 in total. The company has invested more than $25 million to develop its AFV fleet, which besides hybrid electric includes such other fuels as compressed natural gas, liquefied natural gas, propane and all-electric. The fleet is deployed in eight countries besides the U.S. and since 2000, has traveled 185 million miles.

UPS was the first package delivery company to introduce a hybrid electric vehicle into daily operation with a research program in early 1998. Currently, 250 UPS HEV delivery vehicles are operating in the United States.

The hybrid electric power system utilizes a conventional diesel engine combined with a battery pack, saving fuel and reducing pollution-causing emissions. The energy generated from braking is captured and returned to the battery as electricity. The combination of clean diesel power and electric power, supplemented by regenerative braking, allows dramatic improvements in fuel savings and emissions reductions.

The HEV fleet features two different size vehicles from Freightliner Custom Chassis Corporation and a hybrid drive system from Eaton Corporation. The external truck bodies are identical to other UPS signature-brown trucks, with additional labeling identifying them as hybrid electrics.

UPS is ranked No. 2 on Automotive Fleet's 2010 Top 300 Commercial Fleets listing and No. 18 on the Top 50 Green Fleets.

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