US Postal Service signals it will order more electric trucks
U.S. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy said Wednesday that the U.S. Postal Service, which sparked controversy earlier this year by ordering a predominantly gas-powered fleet, is reconsidering the number of new trucks that will be electric vehicles (EV).
In the statement, DeJoy said the USPS will publish a supplement to the original environmental impact statement (EIS) to its original truck order. Following a recently-announced plan to streamline delivery routes, USPS said the update may affect the gas-to-electric ratio of the vehicle order.
“As I noted when we placed our initial NGDV delivery order, the Postal Service would continue to look for opportunities to further increase the electrification of our fleet in a responsible manner, as we continue to refine our operating strategy and implement the Delivering for America plan,” DeJoy said in a statement. “A modernized network of delivery facilities provides us with such an opportunity. This is the right approach —operationally, financially, and environmentally.”
The USPS announcement does not specify the timeline for the update, nor does it firmly commit to increasing the proportion of EVs. However, USPS has consistently defended the order by saying it reserved the option to increase the percentage.
Earlier this year, DeJoy announced only about 10 percent of the 165,000-truck order would be electric, while the rest would be gas-powered trucks with mileage of about 8.6 miles per gallon. USPS operates the single biggest vehicle fleet within the federal government, making its cooperation necessary to achieve President Biden’s executive order calling for federal operations to be fully carbon-neutral.
In addition to criticism from the EPA and congressional Democrats, a coalition of environmental groups and 16 state attorneys general sued over the plan in April. The lawsuit accused DeJoy of basing the order on shoddy calculations that inflated the cost of batteries to claim ordering more EVs was financially untenable. In a statement to The Hill, a USPS spokesperson defended the order as based on “a robust and thorough review.”
The announcement also comes about a month after the Senate confirmed two new Biden nominees to the USPS Board of Governors, giving Biden appointees a majority that could theoretically force DeJoy out of his position.
DeJoy, a longtime donor to Republicans and former President Trump, has been a controversial figure since the USPS board appointed him in 2020, with detractors accusing him of hamstringing the agency to aid Trump’s reelection bid.
The Hill has reached out to California Attorney General Rob Bonta (D), who led the multi-state lawsuit, for comment.
This story was updated at 1:43 p.m.