Postal Updates

Price tag for USPS electric delivery fleet $3.3 billion

Jan 12, 2022, 1 PM

By Bill McAllister, Washington Correspondent

The United States Postal Service is signaling to the Biden administration and Congress how much taxpayer money it will need to make its new delivery truck fleet all electric.

The price tag is $3.3 billion, according to a USPS environmental impact statement published Jan. 7.

President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better legislation would have come close to satisfying that amount.

But the Build Back Better bill, which passed in the House of Representatives, seems moribund in the Senate thanks to the opposition of Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Republicans.

Postal officials have announced they will press on with the plan to replace their aging truck fleet, but the new impact statement makes clear that it won’t be in a manner that President Biden wants.

Biden wants the federal government to lead the way toward an all-electric federal vehicle fleet.

“While the Postal Service has not yet determined the precise mix of powertrains, under the proposed action at least 10 per cent of the new vehicles would have battery electric powertrains with the remainder being internal combustion engine,” the new report said.

The USPS supports that plan, saying it is “the preferred alternative because it fully meets the purpose and need by providing a purpose-built RHD (right hand drive) vehicle capable of meeting performance, safety and ergonomic requirements for efficient carrier deliveries to businesses and curb line residential mailboxes over the entire nationwide network.”

“Moreover,” the report added, “the proposed action is the most achievable given the Postal Service’s financial condition.”

The report said the battery-powered trucks have “a significantly higher total cost of ownership” than the gasoline-powered trucks.

It acknowledged that “should additional funding become available” the current Postal Service plan will allow for the percentage of electric vehicles to rise.

That, in short, seems to be the Postal Service’s retort to Democratic lawmakers who want the agency’s fleet fully electric.

Give us the funds and we’ll go electric, the report says.

The report does acknowledge that the all-electric fleet would have “about 200 percent fewer direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions” but cautions that it is $2.3 billion more expensive than the 90 percent gas-powered fleet for an order of 75,000 trucks and that a 100 percent electric fleet would require “more than $1 billion” in additional funds. That would push the price tag to $3.3 billion, the report said.

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