The Postal Service announced Tuesday that it will significantly increase the number of electric-powered delivery trucks and will go all-electric for new acquisitions starting in 2026, providing a significant boost to President Joe Biden’s commitment to getting rid of gas-powered vehicles from the massive federal fleet.
The post office is investing over $10 billion to electrify its aging fleet.
This includes buying at least 66,000 electric delivery vans over the next five years and installing cutting-edge charging infrastructure at hundreds of postal facilities nationwide.
The budget includes $3 billion in financing authorized by Congress last year as part of a historical climate and health strategy.
The White House applauded the decision as a method to maintain dependable mail delivery to Americans while upgrading the fleet, lowering operating expenses, and improving the air quality in communities throughout the nation.
“This is the U.S. and Biden climate agenda in motion. Ali Zaidi, a climate expert for the White House, said that the Postal Service delivers for the American people.
According to John Podesta, a senior White House adviser, the new strategy “puts the postal fleet on a track for electrification, considerably reduces vehicles miles traveled in the network, and places USPS at the vanguard of the clean transportation revolution.”
With more than 220,000 vehicles or one-third of the entire U.S. fleet, the Postal Service has the largest federal government fleet and the largest vehicle fleet in the whole globe.
According to the White House, the USPS statement “sets the bar for the rest of the federal government and, importantly, the rest of the world.”
Postmaster General Louis DeJoy said the Postal Service must carry mail and packages to 163 million locations six days a week and cover its costs.
He faced criticism for an initial plan that included buying thousands of gas-powered trucks.
On Tuesday, he declared that “if we can reach those objectives in a more environmentally responsible way, we will do so.”
Just 10% of the agency’s next-generation fleet would have been electric under a DeJoy plan announced in February.
The Postal Service, an independent organization, was condemned by the Environmental Protection Agency for underestimating greenhouse gas emissions and neglecting to consider more environmentally friendly options.
Before the Postal Service moved on with the fleet-modernization program, environmental groups and more than a dozen states, including California, New York, and Illinois, sued to stop the initial plan and asked judges to compel a more thorough environmental review.
Later, the Postal Service changed its purchase of 50,000 next-generation cars to ensure that half of those vehicles would be electric.
The plan unveiled on Tuesday was hailed by Katherine Garca, director of the Sierra Club’s clean transportation program, as “a tremendous success for climate and public health” and “a commonsense decision.”
“Communities around the U.S. will experience the relief of cleaner air instead of receiving pollution with their daily mail shipments,” she said.
Adrian Martinez, a senior attorney for Earthjustice, one of the organizations that sued the Postal Service, stated that “every neighborhood, every household in America deserves to have electric USPS trucks delivering clean air with their mail, and today’s announcement takes us almost all the way there.”
The announcement from the Postal Service “represents real progress,” according to Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, but he added, “I’m still not ready to pronounce this job accomplished.
Until the USPS delivery fleet is entirely powered by clean energy, we must maintain our pressure.
The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee’s head, Sen. Gary Peters of Michigan, declared he will “fight for every aspect of the postal fleet to be environmentally friendly and union-made.”
In addition to having more up-to-date safety equipment, the new delivery vehicles are taller, which makes it simpler for postal employees to pick up the larger volumetric goods.
They also have better climate control and ergonomics.