WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. Postal Service plans to significantly increase the number of electric vehicles it buys to replace its aging fleet of delivery trucks, officials said Wednesday.
The Postal Service predicts a push for electric vehicles from 20% to 50% in an initial purchase of 50,000 vehicles – with the first being put on delivery routes next year. Officials said they also proposed buying an additional 34,500 commercial vehicles over two years.
The proposal, which will be posted in the Federal Register on Thursday, comes after 16 states, environmental groups and labor unions sued to stop buying planned next-generation delivery vehicles. initially leaned heavily on gas-powered trucks.
The new environmental proposal halts purchases of 84,500 total vehicles – 40% are electric – even as the Post Office looks to buy up to 165,000 next-generation vehicles over the next decade to replace aging delivery trucks in operation from 1987 to 1994.
Future purchases will focus on smaller volumes of vehicles over a shorter period of time than the original 10-year environmental analysis, officials said.
The goal is to better respond to the Postal Service’s evolving operational strategy, technological innovation and changing market conditions, the Post Office said in a statement. A public hearing on the new proposal will be held next month.
Higher next-generation delivery vehicles to make it easier for postal carriers to pick up packages and parcels that account for a larger share of the volume. They have also improved ergonomics and climate control.
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