USPS plans to order 40,000 “gas-swallowing” trucks, conducts congressional investigation

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

The House Committee on Supervision and Reform said in a letter dated May 12 that it wants the USPS to provide more information about the service’s “Next Generation Delivery Vehicle” plan, which initially includes an order for 50,000 cars. Of these, about 40,000 are on gas trucks that receive only 8.6 mpg, or only 0.4 mpg more than the older fleet of USPS trucks, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

The remaining 10,000 trucks will be electric cars.

The postal agency’s plan to replace its existing fleet with gas-powered trucks has caused concern in more than a dozen states and environmental groups, with lawsuits filed last month accusing the USPS of failing to comply with environmental assessment standards.

A recent report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office highlighted several issues with the USPS’s cost-benefit analysis for the purchase, such as basing its purchase on a gas price of as little as $ 2.21 per gallon – about $ 2 a gallon less than the current price of gas.

In the May 12 letter, the chairman of the oversight committee said Rep. Carolyn Maloney wrote that she “urged[s] the Postal Service to take steps to move quickly to an electric fleet instead of moving forward with plans to buy tens of thousands of gas-contaminated trucks.

The investigation comes after the House on Wednesday passed a bill that would invalidate the USPS Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on the impact of the new trucks, and require the postal agency to create a new EIS before buying more cars,

Pushback can slow down new trucks

The USPS said it was “discouraged” by the bill, which said it could delay trucking by a year or more.

A delay “will also have an impact on the environment, as 30-year-old environmentally and employee-unfriendly cars continue to travel through U.S. neighborhoods, and our purchase of 10,019 electric cars is halted,” a USPS spokesman said in an e-mail. post to CBS MoneyWatch. “The men and women of the U.S. Postal Service have waited long enough for safer, cleaner cars.”

The dispute over the new cars comes from a 2021 agreement between the USPS and Oshkosh Defense, advocated by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, to produce 50,000 cars from a new fleet of 165,000 trucks. The $ 482 million contract has provoked mixed reactions, with critics calling for everything from the design of the trucks to their fuel efficiency.

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Critics say the USPS ‘next generation’ delivery truck (seen in a promotional photo above), which gets less than 9 mpg, is a gas vacuum cleaner.

USPS


Witnesses at an April hearing on the car deal raised questions about whether the USPS “used flawed assumptions in its environmental and cost analysis to justify the purchase of gas-polluting trucks instead of electric cars,” Maloney wrote in the letter. of 12 May.

In addition to the gas price assumptions that were $ 2 per gallon less, Maloney cited the GAO’s finding that the USPS “incorrectly calculated maintenance costs for electric cars.” She noted that others have said that the postal agency also relied on inaccurate information about the cost of EV chargers and the supply of EVs.

The USPS said that the critique of its environmental impact statement ignores the “different delivery profile of the agency, which requires our cars to travel short distances between hundreds of sidewalks and often stop and start all day, which is a very different delivery profile than ours. the competitor. “