MEMPHIS, TN – FedEx Express announced it has made progress toward its goal of improving its fleet’s fuel economy by 20 percent by 2020. The FedEx Express fleet is now 16.6 percent more fuel efficient, through 2011, when compared to its average fuel efficiency in 2005 (the baseline the company used for comparison).

"Although we are less than halfway to the end date we set for ourselves, we have achieved 80 percent of our vehicle fuel efficiency goal as of the conclusion of fiscal year 2011, compared to our original baseline set in 2005," said Mitch Jackson, staff vice president of environmental affairs and sustainability, FedEx Corp. "As a result, we are reevaluating our 2020 goal to potentially raise the standard we originally set out to achieve."

The company said it achieved this goal via a range of methods. One of the major efforts was running a large number of Mercedes-Benz Sprinter vans with smaller, more fuel-efficient engines. FedEx stated that by the end of 2013, it will have upward of 11,000 of these vans in service, which represents more than 35 percent of its delivery fleet. The company said each Sprinter is about 70 – 100 percent more fuel-efficient than the truck it replaces.

You can see a gallery of FedEx's vehicles here.

Another program FedEx implemented was adding 114 Reach composite-body trucks (manufactured using advanced materials by Utilimaster on an Isuzu Motors chassis). This design’s reduced weight, along with a more fuel-efficient engine, is expected to save 35 percent in fuel, according to FedEx.

Among other efforts, the company is adding 87 all-electric trucks to its fleet, which will bring its electric vehicle count to 130. The company is deploying these vehicles in California; in suburban Washington, D.C. (Rockville, M.D.); in New York City, and at several locations in Texas.

The company is also testing a range of technologies, including FedEx Ground hybrid hydraulic parcel delivery vehicles that use 40 percent less fuel than similar vehicles in the fleet. Next, the company is testing six of its regular delivery vehicles that have been retrofitted with all-electric drivetrains from different suppliers, including AMP, Smith Electric, and Freightliner Custom Chassis Corporation.

FedEx Express said its electric truck effort is not only designed to improve its fleet’s efficiency but also to accelerate development of all-electric vehicle technologies.

The company was ranked No. 184 on Automotive Fleet’s 2012 Top 300 Commercial Fleets.