The USPS Got Bullied Into Buying More Electric Mail Trucks

Public outcry and legal action pressured the USPS to expand its plans for electrification from 10% to at least 40%. 
Written by Allison Stone
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
Aug 10, 2022
Just when rumors had started circulating that the United States Postal Service (USPS) was planning to add more
electric vehicles
to its fleet, the agency made
a disappointing announcement
USPS said that 90% of the 50,000 new trucks it was buying from Oshkosh Defense would be gasoline-powered. Public outcry and massive backlash from lawmakers forced the agency to reconsider. 
Read on with the car ownership experts at Jerry as we dissect what organizations made this happen, why the postal service made the switch, and what it means for the future of electric cars. 

How it all went down

Back in April, USPS ignored a request from the EPA to incorporate more electric vehicles into its fleet, and instead defended gas-powered trucks as a way for the agency to remain “self-sufficient”. 
One of the companies in the running for the bid was EV startup Workhorse. Shares for Workhorse fell 47% after the announcement was made, and the company subsequently
sued USPS
over an alleged violation of contract terms.  
Fast forward to late July of 2022, and the situation escalated even further. According to
Axios
, sixteen states, four environmental groups and the United Auto Workers union sued to block the $3 billion order from Oshkosh Defense from going forward as planned. 
The Biden administration—which recently unveiled a huge EV charging station initiative in its new infrastructure plan—also urged USPS to reconsider. 
In the new plan, USPS says that at least half of the 50,000 vehicles it plans to purchase from Oshkosh Defense will be battery electric vehicles (BEVs). The agency also promised to purchase another 34,500 from other manufacturers, with an emphasis on buying BEVs. 

Why USPS buying EVs is important

While gas-powered cars still dominate American roads, hesitancy to switch to electric is waning. The push for more electric cars is part of a global initiative to lessen the dependence on fossil fuels, and USPS is a perfect candidate for electric trucks. 
While range anxiety is still a deterrent for some potential EV owners, delivery trucks like USPS uses have set routes, meaning recharging stops can be planned more easily. 
Not only will electrification of USPS fleets help to lessen the agency’s own environmental impact, but the presence of more electric vehicles on the streets will help to normalize them to consumers as well.
“Public pressure is working," said executive director of the Zero Emission Transportation Association Joe Britten to Axios. "Today’s commitment to acquire at least a 40% electric fleet shows that the Postal Service understands the strategic disadvantage it would create for itself if it were to just rely on gas-powered vehicles for decades to come."
Britton went on to say that fleet electrification would not only provide
cost savings
to the USPS, but it would deliver massive
climate, economic and health benefits to Americans

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