Statement: US Postal Service’s electric vehicle purchases will help deliver a cleaner future

Media Contacts
Matt Casale

Former Director, Environment Campaigns, PIRG

Lisa Frank

Executive Director, Environment America; Vice President and D.C. Director, The Public Interest Network

WASHINGTON – Biden administration officials will join United States Postal Service (USPS) Postmaster General Louis DeJoy on Tuesday to announce a new commitment to electrify the nation’s mail delivery fleet. The USPS said in February that it would buy up to 165,000 “New Generation Delivery Vehicle” trucks starting in 2023. At the time, it had expected only 10% of those to be electric. Thanks in part to a $3 billion investment in the Inflation Reduction Act, Dejoy will announce that 75% of new vehicles purchased in 2023 will now be electric. The USPS will also announce that beginning in 2026, all new vehicle purchases will be electric, and USPS will invest in charging infrastructure at hundreds of their facilities.

The agency’s initial commitment to only electrify 10% of new vehicles drew opposition from the Biden administration, members of the U.S. Senate and U.S. House and sixteen states. Environment America and U.S. PIRG called on the USPS to go further, including by collecting tens of thousands of grassroots comments in support of an electric fleet. The commitment was increased to 50% in July, but an internal USPS analysis found that electric vehicles could already serve over 95% of mail carrier routes. 

Transportation is the No. 1 source of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, pumping millions of tons of global warming gasses into the atmosphere. In addition to harming the climate, fossil fuel-powered cars also wreak havoc on public health. Pollution from cars, trucks and other vehicles cuts short an estimated 58,000 American lives each year. Air and noise pollution have also been shown to increase the risk of serious health conditions, including lung cancer, stroke, heart disease, asthma and dementia. USPS has over 200,000 vehicles in its fleet, the largest share of federal civilian vehicles. 

Matt Casale, Environment Campaigns director for U.S. PIRG, released the following statement:

“We rely on the men and women of the USPS everyday – and no matter the conditions, they do their job. Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night keeps mail carriers from our neighborhoods. When driving electric vehicles, they won’t be bringing with them the tailpipe pollution that puts the health of our communities at risk and drives climate change.

“We are grateful for the Biden administration’s leadership and the USPS for going back to the table and getting a better result for the American people. This is a move closer to a world with cleaner air, healthier communities and a more stable climate. There remains a lot of work to do – including getting the USPS to 100% electric vehicles – but this is an important win for the climate and public health.”

In response, Lisa Frank, executive director of Environment America’s Washington Legislative Office, released the following statement:

“We must electrify cars, vans, buses and trucks to secure a livable climate. The U.S. Postal Service fleet travels millions of miles in neighborhoods across the country every year so it makes perfect sense that those vehicles should be electric. The transition to zero-emission vehicles will take leadership at every level. With this new commitment, USPS and the federal government are taking charge and leading by example. 

“Today’s announcement is welcome news. Thank you President Biden, members of Congress and state officials who pushed the USPS to go further. And thanks to the leaders at the USPS for listening, going back to the drawing board and revising the plan. As the plan is implemented, we ask the USPS to continue to be ambitious and ensure that every route that can be served by an electric vehicle, is served by an electric vehicle as soon as possible. At the same time, private delivery fleets like UPS should follow USPS’ lead and electrify their own fleets.”