USPS plan to order 40,000 “gas-guzzling” trucks sparks congressional investigation

The US Postal Service’s plan to add 40,000 gas-powered trucks that get only 8.6 miles per gallon prompted a congressional investigation, with House lawmakers questioning whether the agency “relied on faulty assumptions to justify the purchase.” of gasoline trucks.

The House Oversight and Reform Committee said in a May 12 letter that it wants the USPS to provide more information about the service’s “Next Generation Delivery Vehicle” plan, which initially involves an order for 50,000 vehicles. Of these, about 40,000 run on gas. trucks that only get 8.6 mpg, or just 0.4 mpg more than the older USPS truck fleet, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

The remaining 10,000 trucks will be electric vehicles.

The postal agency’s plan to replace its existing fleet with mostly gasoline-powered trucks has raised concerns among more than a dozen states and environmental groups, with lawsuits filed last month who accuse the USPS of failing to meet environmental review standards.

A recent report from the US Government Accountability Office noted several problems with the USPS cost-benefit analysis for the purchase, such as basing its purchase on a gas price of as little as $2.21 per gallon, approximately $ 2 per gallon less than the current price of gasoline.

In the May 12 letter, Oversight Committee Chair Rep. Carolyn Maloney wrote that she “urges[s] the Postal Service to take steps to quickly transition to an electric fleet rather than go ahead with plans to buy tens of thousands of gas-guzzling trucks.

The inquiry comes after the House introduced a bill on Wednesday that would invalidate the USPS’ environmental impact statement (EIS) on the impact of new trucks and require the postal agency to create a new EIS before purchasing more vehicles. .

Backlash could delay new trucks

The USPS said it was “disheartened” by the bill, which it said could delay the launch of the trucks by a year or more.

A delay “will also have environmental consequences, as 30-year-old environmentally unfriendly vehicles and employees continue to travel through American neighborhoods, and our purchase of 10,019 electric vehicles is put on hold,” a spokeswoman said. USPS in an email to CBS MoneyWatch. “The men and women of the US Postal Service have waited long enough for safer, cleaner vehicles.”

The dispute over the new vehicles arises from a deal 2021 between the USPS and Oshkosh Defense, promoted by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, to produce 50,000 vehicles from a new fleet of 165,000 trucks. The $482 million contract has drawn mixed reactions, with critics criticizing everything from the trucks’ design to their fuel efficiency.

Critics say the USPS’s “next-generation” delivery truck (seen in a promotional photo above), which gets less than 9 mpg, is a gas guzzler.


Witnesses at an April hearing on the vehicle deal raised questions about whether the USPS “used flawed assumptions in its cost and environmental analyzes to justify purchasing gas-guzzling delivery trucks over electric vehicles,” Maloney wrote. in the letter of May 12.

Aside from assumptions about gas prices being discounted by $2 a gallon, Maloney cited the GAO’s finding that the USPS “miscalculated the maintenance costs of electric vehicles.” He noted that others have said the postal agency also relied on inaccurate information about the cost of electric vehicle chargers and the range of electric vehicles.

The USPS said criticism of its environmental impact statement ignores the agency’s “distinct delivery profile, which requires our vehicles to travel short distances between hundreds of curbside boxes and stop and start frequently throughout the day, which is a very different delivery profile than our competitors.

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