UPS to expand natural-gas truck fleet

United Parcel Service Inc said it will buy about 700 liquefied natural gas (LNG) vehicles and build four refueling stations by the end of 2014, as the logistics and courier services company ramps up its natural gas investments.

UPS said that with natural gas prices 30-40 percent lower than imported diesel, and with U.S. production gearing up, it is investing more aggressively in natural gas infrastructure.

The company now has more than 1,000 natural gas vehicles on the road across the world.

Once the new project is completed, UPS will have one of the biggest LNG truck fleets in the world, the company said.

Greenhouse gas emissions from natural gas trucks are about 20 percent lower than those of diesel trucks. That has been a talking point for the White House, but truckers say the cost of vehicles that run on the cheap and cleaner-burning fuel is still too high for a timely payback on such an investment.

UPS said that, beyond favorable fuel cost and domestic resource access, the trucking industry cites 25 percent less carbon-dioxide emissions from using natural gas.

(Reporting by Nivedita Bhattacharjee in Chicago; editing by Jim Marshall)