UPS Boosts Mileage 40% with Prototype Plastic Delivery Vans - Green Biz United Parcel Service is rolling out a prototype delivery van that gets 40 percent better mileage than its familiar big, brown boxy predecessor. The twist here is less high tech than you might guess: It's not a new recipe for electric batteries or some new exotic fuel. Rather, to deliver big fuel savings, UPS put one of its standard package vans on a strict weight loss program. By replacing aluminum sheet body panels with rugged, lightweight ABS plastic, UPS engineers have lowered fuel consumption by about 40 percent. Using less sheet metal cut the truck's weight so much that UPS could then opt for a smaller, lighter engine, saving still more weight. All together, the changes have carved off 1,000 pounds, or about 10 percent, from the weight from the original 5-ton truck design, says Dale Spencer, UPS' director of automotive engineering.