USPS plan to order 40,000 “gas-guzzling” trucks sparks congressional investigation

The U.S. Postal Service’s plan to add 40,000 gasoline-powered trucks that go as low as 8.6 miles per gallon has sparked a congressional investigation, with House lawmakers questioning whether the agency “relied on false assumptions to make the purchase.” of gas trucks.”

The House Committee on Oversight and Reform said in a May 12 letter it wants the USPS to provide more information about the service’s “Next Generation Delivery Vehicle” plan, which initially entails an order for 50,000 vehicles. Of these, about 40,000 run on gas trucks hitting just 8.6 mpg, or just 0.4 mpg more than the USPS’ older 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 trucks that run primarily on gas has raised concerns from more than a dozen states and environmental groups, including lawsuits filed last month accusing the USPS of failing to meet environmental assessment standards.

A recent report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office revealed several issues with the USPS’s cost-benefit analysis for the purchase, such as basing the purchase on a gas price of just $2.21 a gallon — about $2 a gallon. gallon less than the current gas price.

In the May 12 letter, Oversight Committee chairman Rep. Carolyn Maloney, that she[s] the Postal Service to take steps to move quickly to an electric fleet rather than go ahead with plans to buy tens of thousands of gas-guzzling trucks.”

The investigation comes after the House introduced a bill Wednesday that would invalidate the USPS’s Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) about the impact of the new trucks and require the postal agency to create a new EIS before buying more vehicles.

Pushback can slow down new trucks

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

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

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

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

USPS


Witnesses at an April hearing on the vehicle deal raised questions about whether the USPS has “used flawed assumptions in its environmental and cost analyzes to justify purchasing gas-guzzling vans instead of electric vehicles,” Maloney wrote in the letter. May 12th.

Leaving aside assumptions about gas prices being $2 a gallon, Maloney cited the GAO’s finding that the USPS “miscalculated electric vehicle maintenance costs.” She noted that others have said the postal agency also relied on incorrect 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 curbs and stop and start frequently throughout the day, which is a very different delivery profile from our competitors.” .”

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