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USPS doubles its order of electric vehicles but sticks to mostly buying inefficient gas trucks

The United States Postal Service (USPS) announced that it updated its plan to upgrade its fleet of delivery vehicles to double the number of electric vehicles as part of the order.

However, the USPS decided to unfortunately still mostly buy inefficient gas trucks as part of the 50,000-vehicle fleet refresh.

Last year, the USPS placed an order for 50,000 vehicles with Oshkosh Defense as part of its Next Generation Delivery Vehicle (NGDV) program to update its aging fleet of delivery vehicles.

The postal service has been expected to update its fleet with electric vehicles, which would greatly improve the efficiency of its fleet and reduce operating costs.

However, Louis DeJoy, the US postmaster appointed by the Trump administration, announced that only 10% of the new 50,000 vehicles as part of the NGDV contract would be electric.

DeJoy has been a controversial appointee for many reasons. He is the first postmaster in decades to have no experience at USPS. As soon as he was appointed, he started gutting the postal service, while he and his wife are believed to have investments worth up to $70 million in companies competing with USPS. And prior to serving as postmaster, he had a shady past in business and political fundraising.

His decision on updating the fleet with mostly gas vehicles drew a lot of criticism. Not only is it not forward-looking as the transport industry goes electric, the new gas-powered vehicles selected are barely more efficient than the 1988 vehicles the USPS is currently using (8.6 mpg with AC/ 14.7 mpg without AC versus 8.2 mpg currently).

After coming into office, the Biden administration issued an executive order directing the federal vehicle fleet, including postal trucks, to go electric, and the EPA also got involved.

Last month, DeJoy’s USPS responded to the criticism with a greenwashing approach that gave little hope that they would change course and go electric with the NGDV fleet update.

This week, the USPS did issue an updated plan for the NGDV fleet update following the pressure coming from the new administration and the public, and while it includes more electric vehicles, the postal service is sticking on mostly buying gas-powered cars from Oshkosh Defense.

The order will now include 10,000 electric vehicles instead of 5,000:

The Postal Service announced today that it placed its initial Next Generation Delivery Vehicle (NGDV) delivery order with Oshkosh, WI, based Oshkosh Defense at a cost of $2.98 billion. The first order is for 50,000 vehicles – a minimum of which will be for 10,019 battery electric vehicles (BEVs).

The postal service did note that it will “increase in the mix of BEVs should additional funding become available from internal or other sources, and if the use case for BEVs continues to improve.”

However, the comment contradicts a recent report from the Inspector General’s Office that shows that 99% of USPS routes could already be served by electric vehicles and that EVs are much cheaper in the long run.

Of course, the cost and use case of electric vehicles change depending on the specific vehicle, and there are still questions as to why DeJoy’s USPS decided to go with Oshkosh.

Last year, government officials have asked the SEC to investigate suspicious trading activities on Oshkosh’s stock right before the USPS announced the controversial contract.

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