It was nearly a year ago – in February 2021 – that the United States Postal Service announced its next-generation delivery vehicle. The current USPS fleet is over 30 years old so an update is sorely needed, but with President Biden's initiative to electrify federal vehicles, the EPA isn't happy that nearly all the new postal trucks will be gasoline-powered.
That's the crux of an official letter sent to USPS officials on February 2, according to The Washington Post. Specifically, a communication from The White House Council on Environmental Quality advised Postmaster General Louis DeJoy that "Congress or the Federal courts may compel the USPS to alter course" on its plan to spend over $11 billion on the Grumman Next Generation Delivery Vehicle (NGDV).
Gallery: Oshkosh Defense US Postal Service Delivery Truck
The platform is designed for both internal combustion and electric drivetrains, but the current contract has 90 percent of those running gasoline engines. Additionally, it only calls for an efficiency improvement of 0.4 mpg compared to the current postal vehicles in use. With air conditioning engaged, the NGDV achieves an estimated 8.6 miles per gallon – far below the industry standard of 12 to 14 mpg, per The Washington Post.
Oshkosh Defense is the company contracted to build as many as 150,000 of the new postal vehicles, but the EPA reportedly isn't happy with details of the contract that may actually violate law. USPS allegedly committed $480 million towards the contract before an environmental review was completed. As for that review, The White House Council on Environmental Quality cited EPA's "grave concerns with the adequacy of the environmental review that the USPS has conducted to date for its procurement of its NGDV."
The Washington Post states that Postmaster General DeJoy said the USPS simply couldn't afford more electric models. With postal vehicles comprising approximately one-third of the federal fleet, it's hard to see how the USPS can avoid more EVs to comply with the electrification mandate laid out by the Biden administration.