The massive climate bill that passed the US Senate this week includes three billion dollars for the US Postal Service to decarbonise its delivery fleet. Local media said the US Government “called’s bluff” by supplying as much funding as USPS claimed a 100% fleet would cost.
It is the next chapter in the saga of the mail service under the governance of Trump-era appointee Louis DeJoy. He has been hesitant about President Biden’s effort to electrify the ageing delivery fleet from day one, citing financial difficulties. It bears to be said that the postmaster did state that “we are committed to pursuing near-term and long-term opportunities to reduce our impact on the environment.” However, with the Infrastructure Act now part of the latest Inflation Reduction Act passing the Senate, USPS will be moving financially equipped to move forward with the electrification of its fleet.
The pressure had been ongoing. The US Postal Service had increased the envisioned EV share from 10% in spring to lastly 40 per cent in July, as reported.
Much controversy had preceded the move. Sixteen states and environmental groups had sued against the original procurement plan. Specifically, USPS was accused of conducting a flawed and illegal environmental analysis and signing contracts before completing a draft environmental review.
When finally increasing the EV share, however slightly and through the defence contractor Oshkosh, USPS had also demanded more money: 3.3 billion dollars, allegedly required to transform the entire fleet to electric.
It appears they got it now – given that the bill passes the House of Representatives next week. The Democrats hold a slight majority there.
Also, as Electrek pointed out since USPS had already committed to 40% BEV in July, the cost differential (per USPS analysis) is likely even smaller.
The US Government has split the allocation into $1.29 billion for purchasing electric trucks and $1.71 billion for upgrading infrastructure at USPS offices.
What is missing now is USPS announcing its commitment to a 100% EV fleet. When giving in to 40%, the agency’s Office of Inspector General found 95 per cent of delivery routes suitable for electrification. Now, deliver.