Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware are among the 16 states that are suing the United States Postal Service (USPS) for using fuel delivery trucks. Democratic members of Congress, environment activists, and even postal workers themselves are upset with the Postal Service’s decision.
Michael Foster, director of the motor vehicle services division of the American Postal Workers Union (APWU) explained, “We believe that the electric vehicles are going to be the wave of the future…..The question is how soon will the Postal Service come into the future?”
The USPS’s fleet of delivery trucks, according to proponents, is ideal for conversion to electric vehicles, which would be consistent with national and state climate goals.
About 200,000 retail employees are represented by APWU, along with the mechanics and technicians who maintain the delivery vehicles, the majority of which are more than 30 years old. More electric vehicles are welcome, according to Foster, and the union wants to ensure that its members are equipped to fix them.
The Postal Service’s plan to replace approximately 165,000 of the present gas-guzzling delivery trucks, however, only includes a small portion of EVs due to costs.
The Postal Service spends $2 billion and more than 30,000 hours annually on maintaining delivery trucks, and in Fiscal Year 2019 the fuel expenditures for these vehicles alone came to $491 million. Maintaining these outdated vehicles has a tremendous financial and environmental cost.
The new vehicles are expected to produce 309,270 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually, according to the Postal Service EIS. The amount estimated by the EPA is quadruple that, at 975,534 metric tons.
Additionally, the new gas-powered cars don’t get much more miles per gallon. The new vehicles get an average fuel economy of 14.7 mpg without air conditioning, but 8.6 mpg with it. The average fuel economy of today’s cars is 8.2 mpg, and in 2020, 180 million gallons of gasoline were consumed.
According to APWU President Mark Dimondstein, constructing the necessary infrastructure to enable EVs could also create a nationwide network of public charging stations, which would be profitable for the Postal Service.