American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP) is the first utility to be recognized as a SmartWay Transport partner by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for the company's efforts to reduce transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions.

Through its participation in the program, AEP has assessed the percentage of freight it ships via SmartWay carriers and measured the greenhouse gas emissions of those freight operations. The company also has committed to ship at least 50% of its freight, excluding fuel for its power plants, with SmartWay Transport partner carriers.

Additionally, the company will develop a three-year action plan to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions of its mobile fleet.

While the shipment of power plant fuel was not part of the assessment AEP performed for the SmartWay program, more than 90% of the fuel AEP ships by rail is sent via SmartWay carriers. SmartWay is not currently designed to measure barge transportation emissions, which is the mode of shipment for 28 percent of AEP's fuel.

In December 2007, AEP began using SmartWay Partnership status as a component in evaluating and awarding shipping contracts. AEP managed the shipment of an estimated 86 million pounds of material over 49 million miles during 2008, excluding power plant fuel.

"Taking steps to reduce fuel consumption and emissions for our shipping and fleet operations and choosing suppliers who are also taking action to reduce emissions will get us closer to achieving our environmental and sustainability goals," says Richard Munczinski, AEP senior vice president - Shared Services.

American Electric Power, based in Columbus, Ohio, is one of the largest electric utilities in the United States, delivering electricity to more than 5 million customers in 11 states. AEP ranks among the nation's largest generators of electricity, owning nearly 38,000 megawatts of generating capacity in the U.S. AEP also owns the nation's largest electricity transmission system, a nearly 39,000-mile network that includes more 765-kilovolt extra-high voltage transmission lines than all other U.S. transmission systems combined.