The United States Postal Service recently announced plans to spend $11.3 billion towards a fleet of new delivery vehicles.
The vehicles will replace their current Long Life Delivery Vehicles (LLV), which lack basic safety features such as airbags and air conditioning.
Notably in this purchase, for the first time, about 20% of the delivery vehicles will be electric.
Some congressional Democrats say 20% is not enough and sited environmental concerns during a House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing.
U.S. Representative Lois Frankel says it may not be what she hoped for, but it's a step in the right direction.
"It would have been nice to be a little bit more aggressive, but we're going to get there," Frankel said. "It's going to take time over the years, and I'm looking forward to the day when our buses all have electric buses. But until then we have to be patient."
Transporation is one of, if not the largest, contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. The current LLV are guzzling about 8.2 miles per gallon. It's estimated the new gas-powered vehicles will get 8.6 miles per gallon.
In the first order of 50,000 delivery vehicles, USPS says they have identified 10,019 specific delivery routes that present the best initial application for electric vehicles. For the remaining routes, USPS will purchase gas-powered vehicles.
USPS says the next generation of delivery vehicles is the fiscally prudent decision.
“Today’s order demonstrates, as we have said all along, that the Postal Service is fully committed to the inclusion of electric vehicles as a significant part of our delivery fleet even though the investment will cost more than an internal combustion engine vehicle," Postmaster General and USPS Chief Executive Officer Louis DeJoy said.
The full statement can be found here.
Frankel adds the decision to maintain an 80% gas-powered fleet is also realistic a decision considering our nations infostructure.
"It is going to take time, and you have to be realistic about it. Most cars are still running on gas. We're building infrastructure around the country to put in charging stations," Frankel said.
Of the nearly 200,000 delivery vehicles on the road, a majority of them are more than 30 years old. A full Q&A can be found here.
Right now, USPS plans to roll out the new vehicles starting in late 2023.
Frankel says she hopes by 2050 we'll be shifting our focus further towards the end goal of an all-electric fleet.