USPS trucks go EV by 2026 after Biden push


The US Postal Service will buy 66,000 vehicles to build one of the largest electric fleets in the nation, Biden administration officials announced Tuesday, turning to one of the most recognizable vehicles on American roads, pickup trucks. square white mail, to fight climate change.

Postal officials’ plans call for the purchase of 60,000 “next-generation delivery vehicles” from defense contractor Oshkosh, 45,000 of which will be electric, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy told The Washington Post. The agency will also purchase 46,000 models from major automakers, of which 21,000 will be electric.

The Postal Service will spend $9.6 billion on the vehicles and associated infrastructure, officials said, including $3 billion from the Cut Inflation Act, President Biden and the Democratic congressional tax, health and climate bill. .

By 2026, the agency hopes to buy almost exclusively zero-emission delivery trucks, DeJoy said. It’s a huge achievement for the White House climate agenda that relies heavily on reducing greenhouse gases from vehicles.

The postal agency must replace its fleet of 30-year-old trucks, which lack air conditioning, airbags and other standard safety features. They get just 8.2 mpg.

USPS trucks do not have air bags or air conditioning. They get 10 mpg. And they were revolutionaries.

The eight-year journey to acquire new vehicles has been arduous and marked by political battles. White House officials criticized an earlier acquisition proposal and said the courts or Congress could step in to block the purchase of carbon-belching delivery trucks that posed a permanent risk to the planet and public health.

Fleet electrification is an important pillar of Biden’s plan to combat rising global temperatures. Biden ordered the federal government to purchase only zero-emission vehicles by 2035. With more than 217,000 vehicles, the Postal Service has the largest share of the US government’s civilian fleet.

EV advocates and environmental activists have said an electric postal fleet could be a big boost to auto industry investment in clean vehicles.

Biden administration officials hope he will persuade Postal Service competitors to speed up their own climate pledges, many of which rely on carbon-free delivery trucks.

“I think it also puts pressure on them to up their game,” John Podesta, the White House’s senior adviser on clean energy innovation, told The Post. “If the Postal Service can move forward with this type of aggressive plan, the public expects these companies that have made these long-term announcements to catch up in the short term.”

Amazon, whose founder Jeff Bezos owns The Post, has vowed to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2040 and has a stake of about 20 percent in electric truck maker Rivian. It is in the midst of amassing an armada of 100,000 Rivian electric vehicles that hopes to have on the road by 2030.

FedEx has committed to carbon neutral operations by 2040 with plans to fully electrify its pickup and delivery fleet by then. It has promised to buy exclusively electric vehicles by 2030.

UPS has plans to be carbon neutral by 2050 and use 40 percent alternative fuels by 2025.

The Postal Service will continue to buy internal combustion engine vehicles because half of the fleet still consists of vans and delivery trucks that travel longer distances to transport mail between cities and states.

“What this does is accelerate our ability to maximize electric vehicles,” DeJoy said.

The Postal Service is restructuring its vast mail processing and delivery network to minimize unnecessary hauling and adapt facilities specifically for electric vehicles. It will concentrate letter carriers in centralized locations instead of using small-town post offices to take advantage of existing infrastructure and cost savings associated with electric vehicles.

Biden’s Zero Emissions Government Fleet Begins With USPS

When the Postal Service published its first vehicle replacement plan in 2021, it was set that only 10 percent of the fleet would be electric. The remainder would have been gas-powered trucks, rated at 8.6 mpg fuel economy with air conditioning running, that could be retrofitted to battery power later by swapping parts under the hood. But postal officials quickly abandoned that strategy due to cost and technical complexity.

Democrats in Congress, state officials and environmental activists were outraged. Sixteen states, plus the District of Columbia, sued to block the 10 percent power plan, as did some of the country’s leading environmental groups.

Podesta said he confronted DeJoy about his agency’s plans when the two began talking in September. By then, the Postal Service said 40 percent of its new trucks would be electric vehicles.

“I told him that I thought the original plans were completely inadequate,” said Podesta, who described the talks as friendly and purposeful. “I just think we thought it was critical to our success and the [climate change] Program. So we stuck with it, we put pressure on him, he backed off and we back down.”

DeJoy said Podesta was “responsive” and helped address the postal agency’s chronic budget problems.

“Our mission is to deliver mail to 163 million addresses first, and to the extent that we can align with other missions from other agencies and the president, I want to do that,” DeJoy said.

Some of the postmaster’s fiercest critics praised the announcement. Adrián Martínez, a lawyer for the climate activist group Earthjustice who is leading a lawsuit against the agency over the vehicle acquisition, called the new truck purchase plan “a radical change in the federal fleet.”

“Over the course of a year, we went from a USPS plan to buy trucks with the fuel economy of a late 1990s Hummer to a visionary commitment to modernize mail delivery in the United States with electric trucks.” , said. “We are grateful to the Biden administration for stepping in to put us on the path to an electric future.”

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