Biden administration wants USPS to reconsider purchases of gas-powered mail trucks

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The United States Postal Service has been urged to back up its plans to spend billions on a new fleet of gas-powered vans, the new Washington Post reports. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the White House Council on Environmental Quality sent letters to the USPS this week asking them to reconsider plans that would allow only 10 percent of up to 165,000 new vehicles to run on electricity rather than on electricity. petrol.

“The Postal Service’s proposal, as it currently stands, represents a critical missed opportunity to accelerate the reduction of the carbon footprint of one of the largest government fleets in the world,” wrote Vicki Arroyo, the EPA’s associate administrator for policy. The USPS announced its plan last February to buy the new vehicles from Wisconsin-based defense contractor Oshkosh with both gasoline and electric powertrains. The deal could allow it to spend up to $11.3 billion on new trucks over the next ten years.

When asked why a larger portion of the fleet was not electric, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy previously said the agency couldn’t afford it. The USPS currently has $206.4 billion in debt, according to the Washington Post, although an upcoming vote in the House could alleviate much of it. In a statement to WaPo, the USPS said it would not be financially sustainable to purchase more electric vehicles. “The law requires the postal service to be self-sufficient,” said a spokesperson.

The EPA has criticized the USPS for several assumptions it made when making its decision on the new fleet, saying it “presents biased cost and emissions estimates.” In particular, the analysis appears to underestimate how the country’s nascent charging infrastructure could improve in the future, overestimates plug-in vehicle emissions and assumes gasoline and battery prices will remain stable for decades to come.

There is broad agreement that the USPS needs new vehicles. His current van, the Grumman Long Life Vehicle, dates from the 1980s and lacks modern health and safety features such as air conditioning and airbags. This aging fleet has forced the agency to spend hundreds of millions of dollars each year on maintenance, not to mention that its old trucks are now an increasing fire risk.

But the announcement that about 90 percent of its new vehicles would run on gasoline poses a significant impediment to the Biden administration’s plans to electrify the federal government’s entire fleet, about one-third of which are USPS vans. The Washington Post also reports that even the new gas-powered vehicles do not appear to be particularly fuel-efficient, with only 8.6 mpg when using air conditioning, compared to an industry average of 12 to 14 mpg for fleet vehicles. While USPS officials initially indicated that these gas-powered trucks could later be converted to electric vehicles, it recently admitted it has “no plans” to do so.

Calls have been made for the EPA to take stricter action to force the USPS to change its plans. The warning letters give the USPS a chance to voluntarily comply.

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