Congressional Probe Looks Into USPS's New Gas-Guzzling Fleet

Congressional Probe Looks Into USPS's New Gas-Guzzling Fleet

A congressional probe has been authorized to investigate the US Postal Service’s procurement of 40,000 gas-guzzling trucks. Compared to the trucks purchased 30 years ago, the new fleet’s fuel economy will increase by 0.4 miles per gallon, for a total of 8.6 mpg. Researchers estimate the annual carbon emissions from the new vehicles will be equivalent to 4.3 million passenger cars.

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy claims that the agency has carefully analyzed the financial cost of these vehicles and supports the purchase, yet the oversight committee believes he has vastly underestimated both cost and environmental impact. The congressional probe will ask the Postal Service to repeat its cost and environmental analyses. It will also ask the agency to consult the Energy Department and National Laboratories to transition the agency to electric vehicles.

Forbes: ​​Postal Service Defies Biden Administration, Moving Forward With Plan To Buy Gas-Powered Mail Trucks, February 13, 2022.

AP: ​​16 states sue USPS over new vehicles, April 28, 2022.

Why This Matters

The Postal Service has the largest civilian fleet in the federal government and will be a key factor in Biden’s plan to electrify all government vehicles by 2035. Unfortunately, Postmaster DeJoy has purchased mostly gas-powered trucks for his “Next Generation” fleet -- nearly 150,000 vehicles, of which only 10% will be electric.

DeJoy’s purchase agreement also comes amid record-high gas prices and global energy instability, none of which was factored into cost analyses. Gas-powered vehicles are certainly not the way of the future as even the automotive industry is racing to electrify. In fact, they will likely be subject to extreme market volatility and mounting costs, not to mention the high environmental and public health cost of their carbon emissions.

Rep. AOC: Rep. AOC Exposes USPS, Oshkosh Defense, April 5, 2022.

Promoting American EV Use

Right now, less than 1% of the government’s entire fleet is electric, and globally, the US trails in EV sales. This is partly due to the lack of infrastructure and financing that has delayed the rapid deployment of electric vehicles. But in the past few years, huge technological strides have been made that would allow for an immediate transition. In terms of infrastructure, NPR reported in late April on a Biden Administration plan, stating: “The federal government [plans to] spend $5 billion to build 500,000 chargers. The money will go to states, who have until late summer to submit their plans to the federal government.”

The Damage Report: USPS Next-Generation Trucks Are A Complete Joke, February 4, 2022.