You’ve probably heard in the news the Postal Service has signed a contract to replace its aging delivery fleet. The Postal Service has said at least 10 percent of its new fleet will be electric, with the exact proportion not yet being decided. So, you may be wondering — what benefits and challenges do electric vehicles bring?
A recent OIG white paper answered that question. We found many benefits — improved sustainability, increased reliability, and let’s not forget lower energy costs. We also found the technology was fairly suitable for postal routes in many parts of the country, although certain factors, such as longer routes and cold weather, could lead to problems.
So, would purchasing electric vehicles save or cost USPS money compared to gasoline-powered ones? The answer to this question is, as with many things, it depends. On certain routes, the lifespan costs of electric vehicles are cheaper and on others it is not. We found USPS would benefit from prioritizing putting electric vehicles on the routes where it would save the most.
We also identified decisions the Postal Service could make to lower the overall cost of electric vehicles, but the decisions often come with trade-offs. For example, the Postal Service could save money by purchasing fewer or less-expensive chargers. This, of course, comes with an increased challenge of keeping vehicles properly charged.
One additional note: On March 14, 2022, we received a congressional request to review the contract’s compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and other issues not addressed in this paper. We’ll be doing additional work in response to that request.
Have you bought an electric vehicle? Tell us about your experience.