The US Postal Service recently announced that it plans to buy at least 66,000 electric vehicles by 2028. With more than 231,000 total vehicles, the Postal Services operates one of the largest civilian vehicle fleets in the world.
Last February, the Postal Service announced a plan to replace up to 165,000 older mail trucks, many of which are as much as 30 years old. The gas-powered trucks get an estimated 8.6 miles per gallon when air conditioning is running. The plan was for only 10% of the new trucks to be electric, citing the high upfront costs of electric vehicles even though they generally make up the difference by saving on fuel and maintenance costs over time.
Facing strong criticism from the Biden administration, the Postal Service shifted course and in July announced that 40% of the new trucks would be electric. With passage of the Inflation Reduction Act in August, the Postal Service received $3 billion for fleet electrification and has once again changed its plans. It also announced that it intends to stop buying gas-powered delivery trucks altogether after 2026.
As part of the new plan, the Postal Service plans to upgrade hundreds of facilities across the country to accommodate electric vehicles. This will include installing chargers and streamlining delivery operations to reduce unnecessary trips.
The Postal Service is no alone in working to clean up its fleets. FedEx says it plans to completely electrify its pickup and delivery fleet by 2040. Amazon has ordered 100,000 electric vans from the start-up company Rivian.
Electrifying the postal delivery system makes abundant sense. Postal routes are predictable and there is ample charging time to meet the power needs of the fleet.
Your Mail Truck Is Going Electric
Photo, posted January 18, 2017, courtesy of Rusty Clark via Flickr.
Earth Wise is a production of WAMC Northeast Public Radio.