Why Are the Tops of UPS Trucks Always White?


This is the first time I have heard about this and now I have to spend the morning looking out the window hoping to see a UPS truck pass by.

Often, UPS trucks will park there for extended periods of time, dropping off their packages. I noticed that without exception, all of them have partial or completely white tops. You don’t notice it from the ground, since it’s just the tops of the trucks. Some of them have a single strip down the middle, others are completely white. While the single strip looks like it’s made of a different material than the rest of the roof, the trucks with completely white tops just look, well, painted.

So I began to think about this, and wonder why they might be white. Asking around, I got a few theories, but knew that I needed a definitive answer. Sent UPS email about it, and lo and behold got an answer! Mystery solved? You be the judge..

(via del.icio.us/kyleford)


  1. I was a courier at Fedex for 3 years during college and I’m sure the tops of the UPS trucks are the same reason the tops of our trucks are white. Yes, the white roof may also help to reflect sunlight keeping the cargo area cooler, but despite what the UPS rep wrote (I can guarantee she was never a courier. Kim is probably named “Shruti” and works in a Mumbai call center.) it’s really more for another reason, which is rather obvious if you look in the back while they’re unloading.

    In the cargo area (where the boxes go) there are no windows. Most of your light actually comes through the translucent fiberglass ceiling of the truck. In most of these trucks there is some form of lighting (one to two bulbs) attached to the bulkhead, but it is weak compared to the sunlight that comes through the ceiling. It actually stays pretty bright in there, thank goodness because you often need to rearrange packages and find a pkg with a particular label. If you’d like to know anything else about the mysterious world of shipping let me know.

  2. My initial guess was that, yes, it was to make the trucks cooler. For this same reason you’ll notice that many school buses also have completely or partially white tops.

  3. Yeah, I’ve seen inside the ones with the skylight before, so that’s what I thought. It’s interesting that it’s also used to reflect the sun.

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