The US postal service (USPS) is facing the mounting fury of the Biden administration, Democratic lawmakers and environmental groups over its plan to spend billions of dollars on a new fleet of gasoline-powered mail delivery trucks that critics say will upend a White House goal to slash planet-heating gases.
The USPS has outlined plans to spend $11.3bn on as many as 165,000 new delivery trucks over the next decade to refresh what is one of the largest civilian vehicle fleets in the world. The familiar boxy white trucks with red and blue stripes will be replaced by a new design that has been likened in appearance to a duck.
A full 90% of the fleet, however, will have traditional gas-powered engines, with just 10% being electric. While the new trucks will come with air conditioning, this means their fuel efficiency will be strikingly poor at just 8.2 miles per gallon (3.56 km per litre).
This is worse than all of the most popular gas-hungry trucks currently on sale in the US and is even less efficient than the original Hummer, a vehicle infamous for the vast amount of fuel it burned through.
“We were optimistic the postal service would listen to us about the benefits of an electric fleet, but it doubled down on its inexplicable preference for polluting trucks,” said Adrian Martinez, senior attorney at Earthjustice.
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