President Biden’s plan to electrify the federal vehicle fleet by 2035 got off to an inauspicious start, with a deal this week by the US Postal Service to purchase nearly 150,000 gas-powered mail trucks.
Why is this important: The $11.3 billion contract binds the Postal Service for at least another decade without electrifying its fleet, which runs counter to the country’s climate goals, Biden administration officials and environmental groups have said. , who tried to block it.
Details: The contract with OshKosh Defense is for up to 165,000 vehicles over the next decade, 90% of which would be conventional gasoline trucks.
- The initial order includes 5,000 electric vehicles, starting in 2023, with the possibility of increasing the number of electric vehicles later “if additional funding becomes available,” a USPS spokeswoman said.
- Oshkosh says the trucks were designed to be able to produce any mix of electric or gas-powered vehicles the USPS wants, including an all-electric fleet.
Yes, but: Opponents say the USPS used flawed environmental analysis that downplayed the benefits and overestimated the costs of electrification.
Between the lines: The agency estimated, for example, that buying electric vehicles would cost at least $30,000 more per vehicle than the gasoline alternative.
- The EPA says the USPS used “extremely inaccurate gas prices that made owning a gas truck relatively inexpensive,” according to the washington post.
- The Postal Service has projected gasoline prices of $2.19 per gallon, rising to $2.55 by 2040, for example. But gas prices were already above $2.80 a gallon at the time of the analysis, the EPA said.
- And with energy prices soaring in light of the renewed Russian-Ukrainian conflict, it’s hard to see gas prices falling anytime soon.
What they say : “It amazes me that on a day when oil is above $100 a barrel, the Postal Service has an analysis that assumes gas will be artificially low for decades,” said Adrian Martinez, senior counsel for Earthjustice. org, at Axios.
- “Beyond the deeply flawed analysis of climate and air pollution, the environmental review appears to analyze economic conditions such as fuel prices, battery prices and other inputs of a country. imaginary, rather than reality.”
The other side: Postmaster General and USPS CEO Louis DeJoy said the agency’s decision was “fiscally responsible” and postal workers could not wait for safer, modern vehicles.
- “Our commitment to an electric fleet remains ambitious given the pressing vehicle and safety needs of our aging fleet as well as our fragile financial situation,” DeJoy said in a statement.
- As Postal Service finances improve, it will consider electric vehicles — if Congress provides additional funding, he said.
What to watch: A legal battle could be next, with careful scrutiny from Congress, Martinez says.
At least your postman should be happy: The new postal trucks are packed with upgrades such as a driver’s airbag, front and rear automatic braking, better visibility, low entry heights, 360-degree camera system, air conditioning, adjustable letter trays and large door openings.