The USPS is moving forward with plans to spend $11.3 billion on a fleet of next-generation mail trucks that mostly run on gas, despite requests from the EPA and Biden administration to electrify its new vehicles instead. The new trucks, which were revealed last year, feature modern amenities like air conditioning, 360-degree cameras, and collision detection. While they can be powered by either gas or electric engines, the initial order from the USPS only included 5,000 electric trucks, or around 10 percent of the entire order.
“Our commitment to an electric fleet remains ambitious given the pressing vehicle and safety needs of our aging fleet as well as our fragile financial condition,” Postmaster General Louis DeJoy said in a statement. He went on to say that the agency would try buy more EVs as additional funding became available, but added that “the process needs to keep moving forward” to give postal workers more modern vehicles.
Today’s postal trucks, which include the Grumman Long Life Vehicle (LLV), have been in service since the 1980s, have few safety features and abysmal single-digit fuel economy. Practically any modern truck would be an improvement, but the EPA argued earlier this month that investing in more gas vehicles would ultimately accelerate climate change and hurt American health. The USPS ultimately decided to ignore the EPA’s request for supplemental environmental impact statements, and it refused to hold a public hearing about the next-gen vehicle plan.