Energy & Environment

New USPS vehicles to be all electric by 2026

Photo: Zack Budryk
Senior White House advisor John Podesta speaks at USPS headquarters Tuesday in front of an electric USPS van.

Correction: The USPS’ acquisitions of new vehicles from contractor OshKosh will be 75 percent electric by 2028.

New US Postal Service vehicles will be 100 percent electric beginning in 2026, the agency announced Tuesday, months after controversy erupted over the initial majority-gas-powered order.

The Postal Service’s order of “next generation” vehicles will comprise 60,000 new cars and trucks, 45,000 of them electrified.

Officials also said USPS intends to buy 21,000 additional electric vehicles from commercial automakers.  

Earlier this year, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy announced the new U.S. fleet would only be 10 percent electric. While the USPS left the door open to increasing the percentage of electric trucks, DeJoy claimed at the time the service lacked the funds to electrify at a larger scale.

Climate advocates took umbrage at the announcement, accusing DeJoy — a longtime Republican donor appointed during the Trump administration — of deliberately undermining the Biden administration’s emission-reduction goals.  

USPS maintains the single largest federal vehicle fleet, and a majority gas-powered fleet would have significantly hindered the Biden administration’s target of net-zero-emissions federal government operations by 2050.

USPS emphasized the possibility of an additional electric order from the beginning, and signaled the percentage would increase over the summer. In the Tuesday announcement, meanwhile, the service attributed the upgrade in part to $3 billion in funding from the Inflation Reduction Act.

“We have a statutory requirement to deliver mail and packages to 163 million addresses six days per week and to cover our costs in doing so – that is our mission,” DeJoy said in a statement Tuesday. “As I have said in the past, if we can achieve those objectives in a more environmentally responsible way, we will do so.” 

USPS is set to publish a draft environmental impact statement (EIS) including the effects of the newly announced electric vehicle numbers by May 2023. 

The initial announcement also prompted a lawsuit by several Democratic state attorneys general, who argued the USPS’s initial EIS had used faulty data to analyze the energy efficiency of an electrified fleet. The Hill reached out to California Attorney General Rob Bonta, the leader of the multistate coalition, for comment on the status of the lawsuit. 

A source with Bonta’s office referred The Hill to a tweet by the attorney general reading, “We sued @USPS to protect the public from 30 more yrs of asthma-causing, climate warming emissions in our neighborhoods. I’m glad to see it finally take this major step toward investing in our planet’s future.” The source added that Bonta’s office will continue to monitor the purchasing process to ensure compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act.

White House Council on Environmental Quality Chair Brenda Mallory praised the move Tuesday at a press event outside USPS headquarters in Washington, saying it would serve as a model for the entire federal government.

“The Postal Service is cementing itself as a leader in accelerating the expansion of electric vehicles across the United States, and proving that it can continue delivering its trusted services in a cleaner more effective way,” she said.

–Updated at 4:39 p.m.

Tags Brenda Mallory Climate change Electric vehicles Louis DeJoy Rob Bonta United States Postal Service USPS

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