UPDATE 1-FedEx, UPS fleet upgrades support Obama energy push

(Updates with Obama comments)

WASHINGTON, April 1 (Reuters) – U.S. President Barack Obama
announced on Friday a fresh commitment from five major
companies, including FedEx (FDX.N: Quote, Profile, Research) and United Parcel Service
(UPS.N: Quote, Profile, Research), to reduce oil consumption by upgrading their fleets.

The two transport companies along with AT&T (T.N: Quote, Profile, Research), PepsiCo
(PEP.N: Quote, Profile, Research) and Verizon (VZ.N: Quote, Profile, Research) are charter members of a National
Clean Fleets Partnership group that aims to reduce use of
diesel fuel and gasoline in their companies’ cars and trucks by
using electric vehicles and alternative fuels.

The five companies are pledging to reduce their collective
petroleum consumption by more than 7 million gallons (32
million liters) a year by deploying 20,000 hybrid and other
types of vehicles that run on biofuels, electric power and
other advanced technologies.

The effort is part of Obama’s newly announced goal of
reducing U.S. imports of foreign oil by one-third by 2025.

Obama challenged other companies to follow suit.

“If you’re a business that needs to transport goods, then
I’m challenging you to replace your old fleet with a clean
energy fleet that’s not only good for your bottom line, but
good for our economy, good for our country, good for our
planet,” he said at a UPS shipping facility in Maryland.

Drawing laughter, he even promised the services of Energy
Secretary Steven Chu and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood as
an incentive for companies to upgrade their vehicles.

“Chu and LaHood will also come and wash your car or truck,”
he joked. “Wasn’t that part of the deal? Absolutely.”

The companies represent five of the United States’ largest
national fleets with more than 275,000 vehicles owned and
operated among them.

Obama said the Department of Energy would offer technical
expertise, resources and support to assist companies in their
fleet upgrades as part of the program.
(Reporting by Jeff Mason; Editing by Peter Cooney)
([email protected]; +1 202 898 8392; Reuters
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UPDATE 1-FedEx, UPS fleet upgrades support Obama energy push