USPS trucks to become EVs by 2026 after Biden pushes

USPS trucks to become EVs by 2026 after Biden pushes
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The U.S. Postal Service will buy 66,000 vehicles to build one of the nation’s largest electric fleets, Biden administration officials announced Tuesday, turning to one of the most recognizable vehicles on American roads — boxy white mail trucks — to fight climate change.

Postal officials plan to buy 60,000 “Next Generation Delivery Vehicles” from defense contractor Oshkosh, 45,000 of which will be electric, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy told The Washington Post. The agency will also buy 46,000 models from major automakers, 21,000 of which will be electric.

The Postal Service will spend $9.6 billion on vehicles and related infrastructure, officials said, including $3 billion from the Inflation Reduction Act, landmark climate, health care and tax bills from President Biden and Democrats in Congress.

By 2026, the agency expects to buy almost exclusively zero-emission trucks, DeJoy said. This is a major achievement for the White House’s climate agenda, which is based on reducing greenhouse gas emissions from transportation.

The postal agency must replace its fleet of 30-year-old trucks that lack air conditioning, airbags and other standard safety features. They only get 8.2 mpg.

USPS trucks do not have airbags or air conditioning. They get 10 mpg. And they were revolutionaries.

The eight-year journey to acquire the new vehicles has been difficult and marred by political battles. White House officials have slammed the previous buyout proposal and said the courts or Congress could step in to block it. buying carbon belching trucks that pose a constant risk to the planet and public health.

Fleet electrification is a key pillar of Biden’s plan to combat global warming. Biden ordered the federal government to buy only zero-emission cars by 2035. With more than 217,000 vehicles, the Postal Service has the largest share of the U.S. government’s civilian fleet.

EV boosters and environmental activists say an electric mail fleet could be a major lever for the auto industry’s investment in clean vehicles.

Biden administration officials hope it will persuade Postal Service rivals to step up their climate pledges, many of which rely on carbon-free delivery vehicles.

“I think it also puts pressure on them to up their game,” White House senior adviser for clean energy innovation John Podesta told The Post. “If the Postal Service can move forward with such an aggressive plan, the public can expect these companies that have made these long-term announcements to catch up in the near future.”

Amazon, whose founder Jeff Bezos owns The Post, has pledged to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2040 and owns about 20 percent of electric truck maker Rivian. It is in the midst of assembling an armada of 100,000 Rivian EVs. It hopes to be on the road by 2030.

FedEx has committed to carbon-neutral operations by 2040 by then, it plans to fully electrify its pickup and delivery fleet. He has promised to buy only electric cars by 2030.

UPS has plans to become decarbonized by 2050 and use 40 percent alternative fuels by 2025.

The Postal Service will continue to purchase internal combustion engine vehicles, as half the fleet still consists of delivery vans and trucks that ferry mail longer distances between cities and states.

“What this does is accelerate our ability to maximize electric vehicles,” DeJoy said.

The Postal Service is rebuilding its extensive mail processing and delivery network to minimize unnecessary shipments and reduce opportunities specifically for electric vehicles. To take advantage of existing infrastructure and cost savings associated with electric vehicles, it will centralize letter carriers instead of using small town post offices.

Biden’s zero-emission government fleet starts with the USPS

When the Postal Service released its first vehicle replacement plan in 2021, it only had to electrify 10 percent of its fleet. The rest would be gas-powered trucks — rated at 8.6 mpg with the A/C running — and battery power could then be added by swapping out parts under the hood. But postal officials quickly abandoned this strategy due to cost and technical complexity.

Congressional Democrats, state officials and environmental activists were outraged. Sixteen states, plus the District of Columbia, filed a lawsuit to block the 10 percent electricity plan, as did some of the nation’s leading environmental groups.

Podesta said he confronted DeJoy about his agency’s plans when the two began talking in September. By then, the Postal Service said 40 percent of new trucks will be EVs.

“I told him I thought the initial plans were completely inadequate,” said Podesta, who described the conversations as friendly and purposeful. “I think we thought it was critical to our success and overall [climate change] program So we stuck to him, pushed him, he pushed back, we pushed back.”

DeJoy said Podesta was “receptive” and helped solve the postal agency’s chronic budget problems.

“Our mission is primarily to deliver mail to 163 million addresses, and I want to do that to the extent that we can align with the other missions of other agencies and the president,” DeJoy said.

Some of the postmaster general’s fiercest critics praised the announcement. Adrian Martinez, an attorney with the climate activist group Earthjustice, who is leading a vehicle procurement lawsuit against the agency, called the new truck purchase plan “a sea change in the federal fleet.”

“In one year, we’ve gone from USPS’s plan to buy fuel-efficient Hummer trucks in the late 1990s to a visionary commitment to modernize US mail delivery with electric trucks,” he said. “We are grateful to the Biden administration for taking steps to set us on the path to an electric future.”

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