The USPS will buy four times more electric mail vans than first announced


The US Postal Service on Wednesday promised to electrify at least 40 percent of its new delivery fleet, an increase that climate activists hailed as a major step towards reducing the government’s environmental footprint.

The postal service had been set to buy as many as 165,000 vehicles from Oshkosh Defense, 10 percent of which would be electric under the original procurement plan. It will now acquire 50,000 Oshkosh trucks, half of which will be electric cars, plus a further 34,500 commercially available vehicles, 40 percent of which will be electric.

The combined 84,500 trucks – which will start delivering by the end of 2023 – will go a long way towards meeting President Biden’s goal of having the entire government fleet electrically powered by 2035. The postal service’s more than 217,000 vehicles make up the largest share of federal authorities. civilian vehicles.

With record-breaking heat waves covering broad parts of the United States and Europe, Biden traveled to Massachusetts on Wednesday to issue an ultimatum to lawmakers: Take action against the planet’s deteriorating climate, or he will do so. The president appears to be ready in the coming weeks to consider declaring a national climate crisis, a move that will give him sweeping new authorities to deal with rising temperatures.

“The postal service reiterates its commitment to the tax-responsible rollout of electric vehicles for the United States’ largest and oldest federal fleet,” the agency said in a statement.

Government regulators and environmental activists had gathered to block the postal service from buying so many gas-powered trucks. Oshkosh’s internal combustion engine model gets 8.6 mpg with the air conditioning running. It is less than 0.5 mpg fuel efficiency better than the decades old trucks they are ready to replace.

Regulators estimate that 150,000 of Oshkosh’s gas-powered trucks would emit about the same amount of geothermal carbon dioxide each year as 4.3 million passenger vehicles. White House officials said such emissions could pose permanent ecological damage. Sixteen states plus four of America’s best environmental groups sued to stop the contract in April.

16 states, DC, climate activists sue USPS for blocking truck purchases

“I think the pressure from environmental groups, unions, it works,” Adrian Martinez, a lawyer for Earthjustice, one of the activist groups that applied, told The Washington Post. “There is still some more work to be done, but the initial attitude we received when we first met is changing.”

“I’m very willing to let them grow and change,” said Porter McConnell, campaign director for the consumer rights group Take on Wall Street and co-founder of the Save the Post Office Coalition.

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, long a follower of the Biden administration and the Congress Democrats, said in June that he would reorganize certain agency operations to improve efficiency and make room for more electric cars.

The postal service is the process of centralizing postal delivery routes to large processing plants, and, experts say, dramatically reduces the costs associated with charging infrastructure for electric vehicles.

Congress in March also approved a $ 107 billion agency overhaul, freeing up money that postmen had long sought for capital improvements. Legislators from both parties specifically pointed to the agency’s need for new trucks – the fleet is now 30 years old, and has neither airbags nor air conditioning – to keep up with private sector investments in electric cars to approve the legislation.

The Senate approves $ 107 billion overhaul of USPS, and praises the Post Office’s role in pandemic response

“The one thing that has changed is that their fiscal policy has improved a lot,” Rep. Jared Huffman (D-Calif.), Main sponsor of electric mail fleet funding legislation, in an interview. “Being charitable can be part of the explanation. But the truth is, you do not need billions of dollars from Congress to do it smart.”

“Electric vehicles are the future of the automotive industry, and that’s why I’re pushing the postal service to buy more of them as they continue to add more next-generation delivery vehicles and other vehicles to their fleet,” said Senator Gary Peters (D- Mich.), Who chairs the Senate committee responsible for handling mail matters.

But agency executives and even some of DeJoy’s advisers have been pushing the postman for months to move the agency away from the Oshkosh deal. The contract required a minimum purchase of 50,000 vehicles, after which the agency could open a new bidding round for trucks – or seek a better deal with Oshkosh – at a time when experts predict that the price of electric vehicles and their expensive batteries will have dropped.

That seems to be what DeJoy decided, two of these people told The Post. They spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss agency strategy.

Oshkosh’s share was flat after the announcement, up less than 1 percent in the dinner trade.

“The Post Office expects to evaluate and procure vehicles over shorter periods of time to be more responsive to its evolving operating strategy, technology improvements and changing market conditions, including the expected increased availability of BEV options in the future,” the agency said in a statement announcing the new procurement plan.

The Oshkosh contract, which was signed in February 2021, was widely criticized from the start. The defense contractor had never made electric vehicles and told investors that the electric car market represented a weak point in its capabilities. Peters wrote to DeJoy within days of the announced deal that the contract “leaves many questions unanswered about the postal service’s commitment to a sustainable fleet.”

The House Oversight and Reform Committee in May opened an investigation into the deal after board chair Carolyn B. Maloney (DN.Y.) said the agency “must return to the drawing board” on the $ 11.3 billion purchase plan.

House panel will examine USPS plan to buy 8.6 mpg trucks

“The postal service fleet of the future must be clean, affordable and electric,” Maloney said in a statement Wednesday. “This is the fleet that the American people deserve. I am pleased with this progress, but I will continue to fight for the postal service fleet to be fully converted to electric vehicles.”

“Investing in outdated technology never made sense, and I’m glad the postmaster general comes too late to that recognition of common sense,” the rep said. Gerald E. Connolly (D-Va.), Who chairs the subcommittee responsible for postal services. Policy. “We still have more work to do, and Congress will continue to help push the USPS into a modern, green fleet.”

Source link

Back to top button