States Sue Postal Service Over Its Truck Plan

Agency is buying vehicles that get just 8.6mpg
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 28, 2022 2:16 PM CDT
Postal Service Faces Suit Over Buying More Gas-Guzzlers
The new gas-powered mail delivery trucks would get only 8.6mpg, a slight improvement over the existing fleet.   (Getty/BrianBrownImages)

The Postal Service disappointed a lot of people when it announced in February that only 10% of the roughly 150,000 delivery trucks it will buy in the next decade will be electric. Now, some of them are suing to block the purchases of gasoline vehicles, including 16 states, DC, and environmental groups, the Washington Post reports. "The Postal Service has a historic opportunity to invest in our planet and in our future," said California Attorney General Rob Bonta in a statement. "Instead, it is doubling down on outdated technologies that are bad for our environment and bad for our communities."

The suit says the agency used false assumptions in arriving at the decision to order gas-powered vehicles that get 8.6mpg. That's only slightly better mileage than the 30-year-old trucks still in use get. The Postal Service didn't launch its environmental impact study until it had told Oshkosh Defense to begin production of the vehicles, turning over $482 million, though it says its review was thorough and complied with all relevant environmental laws. The agency's plan for electric vehicles isn't close to the commitments from UPS and Amazon for their delivery fleets, per CNBC.

President Biden has said he wants the entire federal civilian fleet to be all-electric by 2035. And government regulators, including the Environmental Protection Agency's, have found problems with the environmental study conducted by the Postal Service, including underestimating the cost of gas vehicles and the effects of their emissions on climate change. Also, the study assumed a fictional gas price of $2.19 per gallon. "Once this purchase goes through, we'll be stuck with more than 100,000 new gas-guzzling vehicles on neighborhood streets … for the next 30 years," Bonta said. "There won't be a reset button." (More US Postal Service stories.)

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