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USPS to Buy 66,000 Electric Delivery Vehicles to Cut Carbon Emissions

The Postal Service will only purchase electric vehicles after 2026.

Many of the older vehicles lack proper air conditioning, advanced safety technology and modern-day operational requirements.

The US Postal Service said Tuesday that it plans to buy at least 66,000 electric delivery vehicles as part of a wider acquisition program between now and 2028 to reduce carbon emissions. 

The mail service will spend a projected $9.6 billion -- with a third of that money coming from President Joe Biden's Inflation Reduction Act -- to purchase a total of 106,000 delivery vehicles to replace its older, carbon-emitting vehicles between now and 2028. Around 60,000 of these vehicles will be "next-generation delivery vehicles" while the remaining 46,000 are "commercial off-the-shelf" vehicles. Of these new vehicles, 45,000 next-generation delivery vehicles and 21,000 of the commercial off-the-shelf vehicles will be electric. 

The vehicles will begin to replace the 220,000 aging delivery vehicles the Postal Service uses. Many of the older vehicles lack proper air conditioning, advanced safety technology and modern-day operational requirements, according to a press release.

As the world deals with the repercussions of the human-caused climate crisis, policymakers have instituted laws to curb greenhouse gas emissions like carbon, a major driver of climate change. Human-made greenhouse gas emissions largely come from the burning of fossil fuels for energy. The top three emitters worldwide are China, the US and the EU. Per capita, the US and Russia have the highest emissions.

Of the 60,000 next-generation vehicles purchased, at least 75% of them will be battery electric by 2028, the USPS said. 

The Postal Service said it will continue to explore the possibility of achieving 100% electrification of its delivery vehicles. After 2026, the USPS will only purchase electric vehicles. 

Last December, the Biden administration signed an executive order to end the federal use of gas-powered vehicles by 2035. The USPS announcement that over 60% of its 106,000 new-generation vehicles will be electric is a significant boost from a proposal earlier this year. In July, USPS said 40% of the 84,500 vehicles it planned to purchase would be electric.