Postmaster general defends plan to purchase gas-powered trucks, citing 'dire' financial situation

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Postmaster General Louis DeJoy on Tuesday defended the Postal Service's (USPS) plan to purchase a predominantly gas-powered fleet of up to 165,000 trucks rather than invest in electric vehicles, citing "dire financial condition."

"Our commitment to an electric fleet remains ambitious given the pressing vehicle and safety needs of our aging fleet as well as our dire financial condition," DeJoy said in a press release.

DeJoy said the proposed action, in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), includes an initial order for 5,000 electric vehicles. However, absent such funding, DeJoy said the USPS "must make fiscally responsible decisions that result in the needed introduction of safer and environmentally cleaner vehicles for the men and women who deliver America's mail."

He said the USPS is "committed to completing the NEPA process," but noted that "we are compelled to act prudently in the interest of the American public."

"However, that responsibility should not be mistaken for an ambivalent commitment to operating a cleaner postal vehicle fleet for our country. As with everything else we now do, we will be resolute in making decisions that are grounded in our financial situation and what we can realistically achieve," DeJoy said.

DeJoy approved the current plan for vehicle purchasing, which only requires one-tenth of new Postal Service trucks to be electric.

The Environmental Protection Agency and the White House Council on Environmental Quality asked USPS last week to reconsider its plans, noting that the Postal Service fleet is one of the federal government's largest.

However, DeJoy said USPS "cannot at this time count on additional funding," pointing to the service's concerns about the cost of electric vehicles and building out electric infrastructure.