WASHINGTON (AP) — In a big boost to President Joe Biden’s promise to eliminate gasoline-powered vehicles from the growing federal fleet, the Postal Service said Tuesday it will significantly increase the number of electric-powered delivery trucks, and that they will be totally electric. for new purchases from 2026.
The Post Office said it is spending nearly $10 billion to electrify its aging fleet, including installing modern charging infrastructure at hundreds of postal facilities across the country and purchasing at least 66,000 electric delivery trucks in the next five years. The spending includes $3 billion in funding approved under a landmark health and climate policy adopted by Congress last year.
The White House hailed the announcement as a way to maintain reliable mail service for Americans while modernizing the fleet, reducing operating costs and increasing clean air in neighborhoods across the country.
“This is Biden’s climate strategy on wheels and the US Postal Service delivering for the American people,” said White House climate adviser Ali Zaidi.
The new plan “sets the Postal fleet on an electrification course, significantly reduces vehicle miles traveled on the network, and puts the USPS at the forefront of the clean transportation revolution,” added John Podesta, senior adviser to the House. White.
The US government operates the largest fleet of vehicles in the world, and the Postal Service is the largest fleet in the federal government with more than 220,000 vehicles, one-third of the total US fleet. USPS announcement “It sets the standard for the rest of the federal government and, more importantly, for the rest of the world,” the White House said.
Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, who came under fire for an initial plan that included buying thousands of gasoline-powered trucks, said the Postal Service is required by law to deliver mail and packages to 163 million addresses six days a week. and cover their costs. in doing so.
“As I’ve said in the past, if we can achieve those goals in a more environmentally responsible way, we will,” he said in a statement Tuesday.
A plan announced by DeJoy in February would have made just 10% of the agency’s next-generation fleet electric. The Environmental Protection Agency criticized the Postal Service, an independent agency, for underestimating greenhouse gas emissions and not considering greener alternatives.
Environmental groups and more than a dozen states, including California, New York and Illinois, have sued to stop the initial plan and have asked judges to order a more thorough environmental review before the Postal Service moves forward with its modernization program. fleet. The Postal Service later adjusted its plan to ensure that half of its initial purchase of 50,000 next-generation vehicles were electric.
Katherine Garcia, director of the Sierra Club’s clean transportation campaign, called the plan announced Tuesday “a huge win for the climate and public health” and a common-sense decision.
“Instead of receiving pollution from their daily mail packages, communities across the US will get the relief of cleaner air,” he said.
“Every neighborhood, every home in America deserves to have USPS electric trucks delivering clean air with their mail, and today’s announcement brings us almost to the end,” said Adrián Martínez, lead attorney for Earthjustice, one of the groups that sued the Postal Service.
In addition to modern security equipment, the new delivery vehicles are taller, making it easier for postmen to pick up the packages that make up a larger part of the volume. They have also improved ergonomics and climate control.