The US Postal Service announced Tuesday that new vehicles will be 100 percent electric beginning in 2026, months after a controversy erupted over the initial majority-gas-powered order.
The United States Postal Service intends to purchase all-electric vehicles beginning in 2026. Meanwhile, the EPA is finalizing tougher truck pollution standards, and Congress has passed legislation to fund the government through 2023. Beginning in 2026, the Postal Service will only purchase EVs.
The Postal Service’s “next generation” vehicle order will include 60,000 new cars and trucks, 45,000 of which will be electrified. Officials also stated that the USPS plans to purchase 21,000 additional electric vehicles from commercial automakers.
Behind the Scenes
Postmaster General Louis DeJoy announced earlier this year that the new US fleet would be only 10% electric. While the USPS left the possibility of increasing the proportion of electric trucks open, DeJoy claimed at the time that the service lacked the funds to electrify on a larger scale.
Climate activists reacted angrily to the announcement, accusing DeJoy, a longtime Republican donor appointed during the Trump administration, of purposefully undermining the Biden administration’s emission-reduction goals.
From the start, USPS emphasized the possibility of an additional electric order, indicating that the percentage would rise over the summer. Meanwhile, in its Tuesday announcement, the service credited the upgrade in part to $3 billion in funding from the Inflation Reduction Act.
The USPS has the single largest federal vehicle fleet, and a majority gas-powered fleet would have hampered the Biden administration’s goal of net-zero-emissions federal government operations by 2050.
FED’s Initiative for Cutting Truck Pollution
The Biden administration announced on Tuesday that it had finalized a rule that is expected to reduce harmful pollution from heavy-duty trucks, though environmental groups say the administration should be doing more.
Short-term exposure to these pollutants can aggravate respiratory illnesses such as asthma, while long-term exposure can contribute to the development of asthma and respiratory infections.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the completion of a rule limiting the release of a class of pollutants known as nitrogen oxides.
While the move, the first update to nitrogen oxide rules in 20 years, is expected to have significant benefits, environmentalists say the agency did not go far enough.
In a written statement, Yasmine Agelidis, an attorney with Earthjustice’s Right to Zero campaign, told The Hill that the EPA’s rule “misses the moment and is expected to merely follow market changes.”
Britt Carmon, the Natural Resources Defense Council’s senior advocate for federal clean vehicles and fuels, has also called for an explicit mandate for electric vehicles.
Road Blocks on the way
The rule is weaker than a standard considered by the agency earlier this year, which would have reduced truck pollution by up to 60% by 2045.
These emissions are expected to be nearly 50% lower under the final rule than they would be if the agency made no changes.
The rule also differed from what the agency proposed earlier this year in that it excluded a section of the rule that would have limited the emissions of planet-warming greenhouse gases from these types of vehicles.
According to Jed Mandel, president of the Truck and Engine Manufacturers Association, “The rule is very stringent and will be difficult to implement.”
By the end of March 2023, the EPA is expected to propose a separate climate rule.
The agency estimates that the annual costs of complying with the rule will range from $3.9 billion in 2027 to $4.7 billion in 2045.