USPS plan to order 40,000 ‘gas-guzzling’ trucks sparks congressional investigation

The U.S. Postal Service’s plan to add 40,000 gas-powered trucks that consume just 8.6 miles per gallon has sparked a congressional inquiry, with House lawmakers questioning whether the agency was ‘working on faulty assumptions’ to justify the purchase of gas-powered trucks”.

The House Committee on Oversight and Reform 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 a order of 50,000 vehicles. Of these, approximately 40,000 are gas-powered trucks that only get 8.6 mpg, just 0.4 mpg more than the USPS’ old 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 gas-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 United States Government Accountability Office pointed out several problems with the USPS cost-benefit analysis for purchasing, such as basing its purchase on a gas price as low as $2.21 per gallon – about $2 per gallon less than the current gas price.

In the May 12 letter, the representative of the chair of the oversight committee, Carolyn Maloney, wrote that she “urges[s] the Post to take steps to move quickly to an electric fleet rather than moving forward with plans to buy tens of thousands of gas-guzzling trucks. »

The investigation 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 issuing a new EIS. buy more vehicles,

Pushback could delay new trucks

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

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

The dispute over the new vehicles stems from a convention 2021 between the USPS and Oshkosh Defense, championed by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, to produce 50,000 vehicles out of a new fleet of 165,000 trucks. The $482 million contract drew mixed reactions, with critics shouting about everything from the trucks’ design to their fuel efficiency.

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


Witnesses at an April hearing on the vehicle deal raised questions about whether the USPS “used faulty assumptions in its environmental and cost analyzes to justify the purchase of the greedy delivery trucks gasoline rather than electric vehicles,” Maloney wrote in the May 12 letter.

Along with assumptions about gasoline prices that were $2 a gallon lower, Maloney cited the GAO’s finding that the USPS “miscalculated the costs of maintaining electric vehicles.” She noted that others said the Postal Agency also relied on inaccurate information about the cost of EV chargers and the range of EVs.

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

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