Oshkosh Defense Postal Truck

Earlier this week, the White House and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) made an official plea to the United States Postal Service (USPS) in the hopes that it would reconsider current plans to purchase primarily gas-powered vehicles for its next-generation mail truck fleet.

In a letter sent to USPS on Wednesday, the EPA requested another hearing to review a 10-year contract that was formerly announced in February 2021. The contract details a partnership with defense contractor Oshkosh Corp. for a fleet of 165,000 new vehicles, and could be worth US$6 billion. USPS said that within this new fleet, nine out 10 new mail trucks will have tailpipes, “but more vehicles could be converted to electric power at a later date.”

Oshkosh Defense Postal Truck

Oshkosh Defense Postal Truck

In a separate letter, the White House Council on Environmental Quality Chair Brenda Mallory said:

“The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has communicated grave concerns with the adequacy of the environmental review that the USPS has conducted to date.”

In a statement to Reuters, USPS said that it would review the EPA’s concerns and would be interested in accelerating the pace of electrification, but believes adding more electric vehicles would be too costly of an endeavour. “While we can understand why some who are not responsible for the financial sustainability of the Postal Service might prefer that we acquire more electric vehicles, the law requires us to be self-sufficient,” the USPS said.

The Zero Emission Transportation Agency (ZETA), counters this claim, citing an independent analysis which suggests that full electrification could save the USPS US$4.3 billion, and that electrifying 97 per cent of the fleet could be done at a lower total cost than comparable new internal-combustion vehicles.

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