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UPS saving money, fuel just by turning right

Posted July 28, 2008

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— With fuel prices near record levels, everyone is looking to save money at the gasoline pump – and UPS is saving millions of dollars changing how its drivers drive.

A recent government study says delivery-size trucks use about 7 percent of their fuel while idling.

Last year, the delivery company saved 3 million gallons of gas nationwide and shaved 30 million miles off its delivery routes by reconfiguring its routes to turn right as often as possible.

Clayton Dorn, a regional manager for UPS in Raleigh, said Monday that cutting out left turns means less waiting at lights, more miles per gallon and safer deliveries because trucks are not crossing traffic lanes in intersections.

"It's proven," Dorn said. "And it works for us every day."

UPS delivery supervisors use a combination of personal and historical experience coupled with specialized computer programs to map out daily delivery routes. It's called package-flow technology, and it helps optimize planning and driver routine to reduce overall miles

And even though you might not be driving around in one of the company's signature brown trucks, with a little planning, you too, could save significant time and money.

"Planning is key," said Mike Taylor, a Raleigh UPS distribution supervisor who maps out the routes and tracks packages – sometimes days before packages arrive at the center. "Your left-hand turn increases idle time, increases emissions, fuel consumption."

Drivers, like Randy Jackson, say they have noticed a positive change in efficiency.

"You can do it quicker," he said. "It's (safer)."

15 Comments

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  • purplepat777 Jul 29, 3:28 p.m.

    In some places, Michigan and New Jersey to name two that I know of, there are no left turns allowed on major roads. To go left, you must turn right and then make a U turn in an area specifically designed by the DOT for this purpose, so that you end up going in the direction you wanted in the first place. At first, this seemed terribly inconvenient to me but once I got used to it, I found it to be hugely time saving and traffic flowed much better, especially during rush hour.

  • jse830fcnawa030klgmvnnaw+ Jul 29, 12:33 p.m.

    Animal Lover, I do the same thing, but I don't have to worry about shutting-down the car. My Prius does that for me when I am stopped at the light.

  • CestLaVie Jul 29, 10:03 a.m.

    I've been doing something like this for a long time - thinking ahead on my drive. I think about right-hand-turn intersections and whether an intersection has a stop light or stop sign, depending on which I think would hold me up the least. Sometimes you need a stop light to get out on some roads. Other times, a stop light is set for too long, so an adjacent road will be easier & faster to access another road. I'm also very aware of passing zones. Poking along behind someone doing 35-40 in a 55 zone seems a waste of gas to me. If I get around them & can once again move at the posted speed, I get to my destination sooner & faster & can shut the car engine off. THAT saves a LOT of gas!!

  • anggiet Jul 29, 9:40 a.m.

    I'd love to test that software to see how it would get me home. I make 5 left turns and three right turns to get home from work. Of course, I could take all right turns and live at the beach!

  • Spirit Warrior Woman - Rev. RB Jul 29, 9:39 a.m.

    "Last year, the delivery company saved 3 million gallons of gas nationwide and shaved 30 million miles off its delivery routes by reconfiguring its routes to turn right as often as possible."

    How smart of them. Wish we were all this smart.

    I get so tired of folks not planning their excursions, even those around town, before they put the key in the ignition.

    I get so irritated at folks who go straight to turn left into a business parking lot, when if they had turned left at the intersection, they could have pulled right into it without holding anyone up or subjecting anyone to risk as they sit behind the driver blocked by oncoming traffic while their own cars sit out in the middle of an intersection.

    Sad they don't teach this in driver's ed or when one tests for a driver's license.

    God bless.

    Rev. RB

  • Slip Kid Jul 29, 9:09 a.m.

    Of course, there are those who don't know you can turn right on red! If you move to NC, learn the rules of the road, please.

  • TrooperChik Jul 29, 8:45 a.m.

    I wish I could go to work and just keep making 'rights'....heck, I would wind up back in my driveway!!!...LOL

  • Blueboxinggloves Jul 29, 8:37 a.m.

    It seems so wrong but it feels so right. Actually, like the others here have said, this is an old story. I saw this story on the tube months ago.

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Jul 28, 9:03 p.m.

    This an old news article. Must have been a boring news day at WRAL.

  • Fun Jul 28, 8:04 p.m.

    Old news recycled by WRAL

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