In a significant blow to President Biden’s climate change agenda, the United States Postal Service (USPS) finalized plans Wednesday to purchase up to 148,000 gasoline-powered mail delivery trucks.
Postmaster General Louis DeJoy ignored request from the White House Council on Environmental Quality and the Environmental Protection Agency this month to rethink replacing the postal fleet with 90% gasoline-powered and 10 percent electric-powered vehicles.
The entire purchase of the new fleet comes at the cost of as much as $11.3 billion. The new fleet will offer a less than half-gallon per mile fuel economy improvement over the USPS’s current fleet of delivery vehicles.
President Biden has promised to transition the federal government’s fleet to clean power. Besides the military, USPS has more active vehicles than any government agency. The USPS fleet accounts for about one-third of all federally owned cars and trucks.
Environmental and auto industry experts contend that the USPS’s stop-and-start deliveries provide an ideal scenario for utilizing electric vehicles in an effort to reduce environmental impact.
EPA officials have said the Postal Service vastly underestimated the emissions of its new fleet of vehicles. Officials said the USPS is twisting the calculation in its analysis to explain the large purchase of fossil fuel-dependent delivery trucks.
DeJoy called the agency’s investment in environmentally friendly transportation “ambitious,” despite other leaders in the agency saying that his position was not correct.
USPS said electric vehicle alternatives were not feasible. Many mail routes wouldn’t work for electric vehicles because they’re too long or undergo extreme heat or cold. The range of commercially available electric vehicles would impact the productivity of the agency’s services.
DeJoy said in a statement that the agency was open to pursuing more electric vehicles if “additional funding becomes available.”
The new fleet of vehicles is expected to begin hitting the streets in 2023.