Postal service

Reviews | Now is the time to electrify the US Postal Service fleet

Forget Amazon delivery, it could be the humble, dependable US Postal Service that ushers us all into the electric future. Along with more than 200 billion mailings a year, the Postal Service’s electric trucks could also deliver clean air benefits to every neighborhood, that is, if the Biden administration takes matters into its own hands. .

When it comes to electrifying the nation’s postal service fleet, the fruits couldn’t be riper. Mail trucks are essential for electrification.

As Earthjustice works to accelerate the transition from dirty energy to clean energy, we often speak of “low hanging fruits”. These are the transitions that would be the easiest to make, with the most benefits. When it comes to electrifying the nation’s postal service fleet, the fruits couldn’t be riper. Mail trucks are essential for electrification. They travel short distances each day (about 20 miles on average), they tend to idle when crossing our streets, and they park overnight in a centralized location that would make it easier to load them.

So what would it take for this to happen? This should be a no-brainer for the federal government and an easy win to protect our lungs and the climate. Last year, President Biden even issued a Executive Decree to acquire only federal zero-emission vehicles over the next few decades. But during that same month, the Postal Service (still headed by a postmaster general appointed under former President Trump’s administration) released its final environmental analysis for a plan to purchase up to 165,000 vehicles, 90% of which were fossil fuel vehicles.

USPS mail trucks make up over 30% of federal government vehicles. (Brian Brown/Getty Images)

The proposed design got a lot of attention and a few laughs for its looks (if you squint, you can just make out Donald Duck’s face), but it should have been lambasted for something far more sinister in its design: 90% of trucks Postmaster General Luis DeJoy wants to buy fossil fuels and have worse fuel economy than a Ford F-150.

Postal trucks run for decades and decades, which means they could either deliver clean air with zero-emissions technology or cloud our climate future and damage our lungs long enough to impact generations. of Americans.

It would be absurd and funny, were it not for such a tragic missed opportunity for the country. If the federal government decided to switch its fleet to electric delivery, it would be one of the biggest electric vehicle contracts in the world. This could generate enough manufacturing jobs to put a state like Wisconsin on the map for electric vehicle production, given the size of this contract.

U.S. Postal Service carrier John Graham packs his mailbag after parking a 28-year-old delivery truck on July 14, 2021 in Portland, Maine.

U.S. Postal Service carrier John Graham packs his mailbag after parking a 28-year-old delivery truck on July 14, 2021 in Portland, Maine. (Photo: Robert F. Bukaty/AP)

Mail trucks make up more than 30% of federal government vehicles, so an electrified fleet would save neighborhoods across this country from a staggering amount of air and climate pollution. We would choose not to burn 135 million gallons of fuel each year, which we are otherwise locked into under Postmaster General DeJoy’s plans. Electrifying the USPS would save us from burning 2-4 billion gallons of fuel over 20 years.

Whether we take public transport, drive a car or cycle to get around, we get the mail. It’s almost a universal trait, a daily experience for all Americans. An electrified postal service fleet would benefit us all.

We need the Biden administration to play hardball on this contract. The USPS environmental analysis is bad – an almost eighth grade science report is bad – and misleading. In more formal terms, the EPA called the environmental analysis “inadequate” and lacking “meaningful consideration of action and proposed alternatives.” Earthjustice and our environmental and social partners are pushing the EPA to refer the matter to the White House Council on Environmental Quality, leveraging a rarely used procedure. Agencies like the EPA and the White House Council on Environmental Quality not only can, but have a moral obligation to push the Postal Service to do an honest and legal analysis. They should take advantage of all opportunities under fundamental environmental laws such as the National Environmental Policy Act and the Clean Air Act in this fight for clean air and our climate.

The United States Postal Service's next-generation delivery vehicle.

The United States Postal Service’s next-generation delivery vehicle. (Photo: USPS)

Second, President Biden and the Senate must expedite the confirmation of new Postal Service Board members. Clearly Louis DeJoy should do not lead the postal service.

Join Earthjustice and our allies with the Union of Concerned Scientists, the NRDC, and the Sierra Club, and tell the Biden administration to step in before the Postal Service makes a terrible mistake.

It’s time to elevate the humble courier delivery truck to heroic status and make it electric.