The EPA and 17 attorneys general have joined with President Joe Biden to urge the United States Postal Service to stop buying gasoline-powered mail trucks. The attorney generals of both New York and California are among those pleading with the United States Postal Service to reconsider buying as many EVs as possible, instead of spending any more money on gas-guzzling mail trucks, according to Reuters.
The process to update the USPS has been slow going, caught up in lawsuits and allegations of rushed contracts that overlooked the environmental impact of a new fleet made up mostly of inefficient gas-powered trucks. USPS delivery vehicles have an average life span of up to 30 years. So, whatever trucks the post decides to replace its old Grumman LLVs with will be around for the long haul.
The AGs are now asking the USPS to redo its analysis of the update plan. But this time, the coalition of states says the USPS should pay “greater attention to environmental justice and addressing the climate crisis.”
In April, the USPS was sued by 16 U.S. states and four environmental groups along with the United Auto Workers Union for awarding Oshkosh Defense a contract worth $2.98 billion. The lawsuit argues the contract used an illegal environmental analysis and was rushed in order to give Oshkosh priority. Reuters notes the lawsuit went as far as claiming a complete environmental review was not actually finished for the USPS-Oshkosh deal.
The Attorney General of California Rob Bonta says the Oshkosh contract relies too much on outdated technology. And after the lawsuit challenged the legality of the Oshkosh deal, the USPS said it would buy more EVs. As of last month, the USPS said it would buy at least 25,000 EVs in the initial order of 50,000 new delivery vehicles from Oshkosh — up from about 10,000. But the Oshkosh deal is for 165,000 new mail trucks, or NGDVs, over a ten-year period.
That gives the USPS plenty of time to ramp up the percentage of EVs included in follow-up orders. And now that the Biden administration is expected to give the USPS another $3 billion dollars specifically to buy EVs and expand its own charging network, there’s not much stopping the USPS from following through with a new eco-friendly fleet. Municipal fleets and mail trucks with fixed routes would easily benefit from EV technology.
In the meantime, the USPS said it’s going to add 34,500 new delivery trucks that won’t come from Oshkosh. The U.S. Postal Service says 20,000 will be commercially available EVs, while the other 14,500 will still be gas-powered.