It takes a lot of vehicles to move 154 billion pieces of mail each year. And a lot of fuel to power those vehicles.

While the Postal Service’s Postal Vehicle Services (PVS) fleet is a small part of the entire fleet — about 4,300 vehicles made up of cargo vans, tractors, and smaller tractor-trailers known as spotter vehicles — it is a crucial part. PVS vehicles move mail between processing facilities, inner-city delivery offices, and local businesses and mailers. Their usual travel distance is about a 50-mile radius.

The Postal Service plans to replace nearly all the cargo vans and spotter vehicles in the PVS fleet over the next two years and has been testing and analyzing potential replacement vehicles, including alternative fuel options. 

We recently evaluated the Postal Service’s fuel costs and consumption strategies for the PVS fleet to see how effective they are and how they might be improved. Our audit report found a number of opportunities to bolster its strategy, particularly around how the PVS fleet might reduce its reliance on petroleum-based fuels.

While USPS has initiatives in place to reduce PVS miles driven, it doesn’t have a specific plan for how it will reduce the PVS fleet’s reliance on diesel fuel and its emissions of greenhouse gasses, or increase its use of alternative fuels, our report found. We also conducted an analysis on using compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles for part of the fleet and our results differed from the Postal Service. We determined CNG vehicles would provide a return on investment by saving on fuel costs over the life of the vehicles.

We also recommended the Postal Service integrate a telematics system, which collects, records, and transmits vehicle data to improve fuel efficiency. We recommended USPS include telematics technology in the global positioning system (GPS) tracking devices it puts on PVS vehicles.

Comments (4)

  • anon

    Jacksonville Florida. Is this a bottleneck for everything coming into Florida? Everything I track stays there for no less than 3 days now. I bought an item, small package, from Orlando. 9 days later it gets to Ocala...a whopping 82 mile trip that had to go to Jacksonville and sit for 3 days and then wander south again. Yes weekend was involved, but 1.76 miles per hour? People walk at 3.5 MPH.

    Jan 29, 2018
  • anon

    What about all the vehicles in outlaying Post Offices, that the mail delivery person has to use their own cars or small vans to get their routes covered. Do they get reinverted to there gas & upkeep of the vehicles??

    Jan 23, 2018
  • anon


    Jan 23, 2018
  • anon

    I received notice that my expected package was 'Delivered on January 14. more than a week ago I have not received it. Talked with the Supervisor, April at the 46402 on Jan 20, concerning her investigation. I was told by her co-worker that she was at her station today, Jan 22. But by the time I get to the lobby desk the story is that she is 'not there.' It's not like she's the one at fault for the missing package but she is supposed to be professional enough to update me as to what her investigation has come up with so far. And the 'Complain' form for the Inspector General is unavailable. Given that the package is unavailable after it was supposed to have been delivered; And given the fact that I have picked up more than one delivered package off the porch left there unsigned for - It is entirely possible that the carrier did just leave that latest one was stolen because of that careless delivery person.

    Jan 22, 2018

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