ATLANTA – UPS released its annual sustainability report, which detailed how the company cut fuel consumption, greenhouse gas emissions, and made its overall operations more sustainable. Automotive Fleet has written about a range of UPS' programs designed to improve operational efficiency, so how did the company's previous efforts pay off in 2010?

The company said that although its U.S. package volume rose 1.8 percent in 2010 compared with 2009, it managed to reduce the total amount of fuel consumed by 3.3 percent. The company attributed the improvement to advancements in vehicle routing technologies and working with its drivers to drive in a more fuel-efficient manner.

The company was able to cut 63.5 million miles out of its vehicle routes in 2010 and cut emissions by 68,000 metric tons. One interesting statistic from the report cited just how much of an impact a small change in routes, using the company’s routing optimization technology, made on fuel consumption and emissions.

"The data we gather from telematics enables us to make small adjustments with big payoffs," said Scott Wicker, UPS chief sustainability officer. "For example, one of our metrics is 'stops per mile,' which measures our ability to deliver more packages with fewer engine restarts. Increasing the number of stops per mile by just 0.01 percent in 2010 was the equivalent of not driving 9.13 million miles."

Other benefits of UPS’ software systems included optimized package loading and telematics to monitor driver behavior and vehicle condition. UPS said telematics cut 15.4 million minutes of engine idling time in 2010.