Changing America: Democrats want $8B to electrify US Postal Service deliveries

May 10, 2021
In The News

House Democrats are spearheading a fresh push to overhaul the trucks that compose the U.S. Post Service, with over 50 lawmakers preparing to ask for a total of $8 billion in federal funding to advance the Biden administration’s larger sustainable infrastructure plans.

First reported by The Washington Post, the chairs of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform and on Transportation, Democratic Reps. Carolyn Maloney (N.Y.) and Peter DeFazio (Ore.) were rallying support for the Next Generation Delivery Vehicle program, which would create 50,000 to 165,000 fuel-efficient vehicles over the next decade.

Despite the Postal Service already being awarded a contract for the program, the portion of vehicles being environmentally friendly would be relatively slim, representing just 10 percent.

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy attributed this to extra costs to the need for charging stations and other costly infrastructure. 

To kickstart the project, Maloney and DeFazio are compiling a letter filled with dozens of signatories to send to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and President Biden.

“To ensure that any federal funding appropriated to the Postal Service for fleet acquisition is used appropriately, we would also include a requirement in legislation that at least 75% of the Postal Service’s new fleet must be electric or zero-emission,” the letter reportedly reads. “Further, we would require the Postal Service to acquire only electric or zero-emission vehicles after 2040.”

Other delivery services have opted to reduce their carbon footprint by outfitting their shipment infrastructure to be more sustainable. Companies like Amazon are slowly incorporating more electric vehicles (EVs) into their delivery fleets, along with FedEx, which has pledged to have its entire ground fleet emit no carbon by 2040.

Major car manufacturers, like Volvo, Ford and General Motors, have also invested heavily in new EV technology for future and current models. 

“The Postal Service has one of the largest vehicle fleets in the world, but far too many postal vehicles are outdated, guzzle gas, and pose a risk to the dedicated Postal Service employees who use them to serve the public every day,” Maloney said in a statement. “As the Postal Service replaces its aging fleet, it is critical that it purchases electric vehicles to protect our planet. The Postal Service needs our help to electrify its fleet, and it needs it soon.”

Historically, the Post Service has been slow to adopt new environmentally friendly vehicles, primarily due to procurement issues.