LANDOVER, MD – President Obama spoke to a crowd of more than 300 employees and representatives from major U.S. companies at UPS’ facility in Landover where he praised efforts to reduce the environmental impact of corporate fleets.
Chairman and CEO Scott Davis welcomed President Obama to UPS, which with its "rolling laboratory" of nearly 2,000 alternative fuel vehicles was chosen to host the event. Pepsi-Frito Lay, Verizon, and AT&T also showcased their alternative fuel fleets for the President. Those companies joined UPS and FedEx in becoming charter members of the National Clean Fleets Partnership.
"If you're a business that needs to transport goods, I'm challenging you to replace your old fleet with a clean energy fleet that's not only good for your bottom line, but good for our economy, good for our country and good for our planet," said Obama.
The companies, which operate more than 275,000 vehicles combined, pledged to support the Administration's energy security efforts and to develop new alternative fuel technologies in tandem with the government.
"Making the transition to a clean energy economy will help us... in two very important ways," Obama added. "First, it reduces the chance that our families, our businesses and our economy will be held hostage to the whims of the oil market. Second, investments in clean energy have the potential to create an untold number of new jobs and new industries right here in the United States."
During the event, UPS’ Chief Sustainability Officer Scott Wicker guided President Obama, Energy Secretary Steven Chu and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood on a tour of UPS vehicles, including plug-in all-electric and compressed natural gas trucks. Those technologies make up only a fraction of an alternative fuel fleet that includes hydraulic hybrid, electric hybrid, propane and liquefied natural gas for heavy trucks.
"Though many hurdles still remain and the path to success will not be easy, the sustainable business benefits of alternative fuels cannot be under-emphasized," said Davis. "We must deal with the short-term problems of cost differentials and infrastructure to prepare for our long-term future."
UPS's alternative fuel fleet recently reached a milestone of 200 million miles traveled since 2000, and for the first time there are alternative fuel and technology choices for virtually all forms of trucks on the ground, the company stated. UPS’ Wicker noted to President Obama during their tour that there is no one-size-fits-all solution currently available for every situation. He said investment in a broad spectrum of choices is vital to ensuring long-term program viability and to making real reductions in foreign petroleum consumption.