FedEx Ground Joins Move Toward Propane

Federal Express (Memphis, Tenn.), known for offering overnight package and mail delivery across the U.S. and worldwide, has among its divisions FedEx Ground, which focuses on shorter-distance small package deliveries that trucks and vans handle exclusively. For the FedEx Ground division, the parent company hires independent contractors who run the operations as their own businesses.

Jon Chase, one of those independent contractors, took advantage of Federal Express’ recent offer of incentives to help contractors pay for alternative-fuel technology in their fleets. Through his company, Chase Delivery (Lancaster, N.Y.), he oversees 30 to 35 part-time and full-time drivers who operate 22 FedEx Ground trucks around a large area of Buffalo, N.Y. He used incentives from the parent company to purchase a Ford F-59 delivery truck that runs on a Roush CleanTech (Livonia, Mich.) dedicated propane autogas fuel system to serve this high-mileage route in Buffalo.

Roush CleanTech unveiled the Chase Delivery truck at the National Truck Equipment Association (NTEA) Work Truck Show in Indianapolis in March. Chase estimates his company will save substantial costs over the lifetime of the delivery truck. In addition to UPS’ announcement at the Work Truck Show that it would add 1000 propane-powered vehicles to its delivery fleet, and DHL saying two years ago that it would add propane autogas vehicles, FedEx is the latest to continue the trend of package delivery companies making a commitment to propane.

Under FedEx Ground’s reimbursement program, the company pays contractors for their fuel use and mileage according to the type of vehicle and the fuel used. As an incentive, FedEx has agreed to pay the diesel fuel reimbursement for alternative fuel vehicles. This allows Chase to pocket the difference on the savings from propane, helping to offset the cost of the truck.

 Chase spoke to another FedEx Ground contractor who saw value in that incentive. While Chase went with propane autogas, partly because the F-59 vehicle he purchased could be quickly converted to a Roush CleanTech propane autogas fuel system, the other contractor went with CNG, which did not turn out to be an easy transition.