WASHINGTON – The U.S. Postal Service announced on Wednesday that it would purchase at least 25,000 electric vehicles as part of its plan to replace an aging fleet, more than doubling its previous commitment. The announcement comes after the agency’s initial plan to “modernize” its fleet would have electrified only 10% of its vehicles, prompting calls for the agency to revisit its decision and a lawsuit filed by 16 states. The new commitments means at least 50% of the agency’s first 50,000 vehicle purchases will be electric.
The Postal Service’s own analysis found that electric vehicles could serve over 95% of mail carrier routes. The Postal Service Office of Inspector General also found that while electric vehicles cost more upfront, they would save the agency money on lifetime vehicle costs due to lower fuel and maintenance costs.
Transportation is the No. 1 source of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States, pumping millions of tons of global warming gasses into the atmosphere. In addition to harming our climate, fossil fuel-powered cars also wreak havoc on our health. Pollution from cars, trucks and other vehicles cuts short an estimated 58,000 American lives each year. Air and noise pollution have also been shown to increase the risk of serious health conditions, including lung cancer, stroke, heart disease, asthma and dementia.
In response, U.S. PIRG Environment Campaigns Director Matt Casale issued the following statement:
“The Postal Service needs new vehicles, and it is great that it’s purchasing more electric vehicles to fill that need. With severe climate and pollution crises already starting to bear down on the United States and the world, it makes no sense to go through with a plan that would lock in polluting vehicles for decades to come. These trucks drive in our neighborhoods everyday: We should make sure they aren’t dirtying our air, but instead help support healthier and cleaner communities. Increasing the number of electric mail trucks is a move in the right direction, but the Postal Service should be even more ambitious, and electrify every vehicle possible.”
Environment America Federal Legislative Advocate Sean Hoffmann said:
“We must electrify cars, vans, buses and trucks in order to secure a livable climate. The transition to zero-emission vehicles will take leadership at every level. Our governments should be leading by example. The Postal Service fleet travels millions of miles in neighborhoods across the country every year, so it makes perfect sense that those vehicles should be electric. Today’s announcement is welcome news, but the Postal Service can and should go further. Every single route that can be serviced by an electric vehicle should be electrified.”