March 17, 2022  (RISC-WP-22-003)

  • As the Postal Service prepares to acquire a new delivery fleet, electric vehicles may be a good option for deployment on many postal routes.
  • There is considerable variation among delivery routes, and many factors can make a route either more or less suitable to electric vehicle deployment.

In February 2021, USPS awarded a contract to produce and deploy 50,000 to 165,000 Next Generation Delivery Vehicles (NGDVs) over 10 years to replace its aging fleet. The agency announced its intention to make at least 10 percent of its NGDVs electric. The agency’s decision to electrify a portion of its delivery fleet will impact employees, operations, and services for decades to come.

In this white paper, the OIG sought to identify opportunities and challenges in adopting electric delivery vehicles. We assessed the suitability of using electric vehicles as delivery vehicles and analyzed the potential long-term cost savings of a new electric delivery vehicle compared to a new gas-powered vehicle. We also benchmarked the electric vehicle experiences of other federal agencies, foreign posts, and companies in the logistics and shipping sector.

We identified several clear benefits of adopting electric vehicles into the postal delivery fleet, including improved sustainability and environmental impacts. Our research confirms that electric vehicle technology is generally capable of meeting the Postal Service’s needs.

The adoption of electric delivery vehicles could save the Postal Service money in the long term — at least for certain delivery routes. The upfront costs of an electric delivery vehicle and necessary charging infrastructure is significantly higher than the cost of buying a new gasoline-powered vehicle, but once purchased, electric vehicles are generally cheaper to operate. For example, longer routes are more suited to electric vehicles because the agency saves money on each mile driven.

Read full report

On March 14, 2022, we received a congressional request to review the Postal Service’s compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), among other issues, that are not addressed in this paper. The OIG will be doing additional work in response to that request.

Comments (24)

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  • anon

    There could be an effort for solar rooftops to charge these vehicles, also! The cost equivalent would be $1.00 per gallon. Get real. We can do much to counter the environmental damage of gas and oil far quicker - at war-time speed.

    May 16, 2022
  • anon

    It's time we changed the way things have been done in the past with respect to a future which portends to be different and where fossil fueled vehicles are detrimental to the atmosphere and our health. This is especially important when there are reasonable environmental alternatives like electric vehicles that can do the same as fossil fueled vehicles and don't have the deleterious side effects contributing to global warming and climate change. Let's change now before it's too late to change rather than being stuck in the past thinking.

    May 12, 2022
  • anon

    Electric government vehicles are an essential to meeting our climate goals. Get rid of DeJoy ASAP! It is the climate not the price!

    May 12, 2022
  • anon

    This is getting petty confusing. My heart says go with electric. But there does not seem to be any convincing pro and con details. Reading through some comments I find a cot of $18,000 per vehicle as well as electric is not suitable for many routes. So I wonder if the eighteen grand per charging station takes into consideration adaptability for V2G (vehicle to grid) and extensive solar/thermal roof installations and new technology in the pipeline. Keeping a toe in the water at this point seems sensible. No politics please.

    Apr 20, 2022
  • anon

    solar panels, windmills, larger scale storage batteries....Partner with other government agencies and private entities to use USPS as a test bed for current and future technologies... What a great testbed USPS is with facilities across the country... Can I hazzard a guess that there are many USPS facilities which could be self sufficient using clean technology?

    Apr 11, 2022
  • anon

    This is a bad financial, social, and environmental decision on the part of the USPS. EVs should comprise the bulk of the new fleet. I urge you to reconsider your bid and purchase a majority of EVs. USPS routes are so limited in range that most USPS vehicles are unlikely to need nightly charging, and regenerative braking is well-suited for the stop-start dynamic of delivering mail. Lower maintenance costs and gas costs will make up the slightly higher purchase price. On top of that, USPS will be actively worsening the climate crisis with a majority gas fleets, affecting itself, its routes, and the people that the USPS serves. Please reconsider.

    Apr 07, 2022
  • anon

    We have a post office box at our local Post Office and also get home delivery. I am a strong supporter of the U.S.P.S and I'm astonished that anyone who cares about the future of the U.S.P.S. would recommend continuing to rely on gasoline engines when it is so clear that the future is going to be electric for all vehicles. If they want to hang onto a few, go for 10% gasoline but please don't waste our money on more than that. Yes, it requires a large investment to start. But, consider the money that will be saved every year. Gasoline engines are wasting our money now.

    Apr 06, 2022
  • anon

    The Postal Service needs to join the effort to slow or reduce the long term effects of Global Warming. With the huge fleet and significant mileage drive by the post men and women, this is a golden opportunity to be a leading force for the future. Electric vehicles upfront cost is offset by the drastically reduced maintenance of an ICE vehicle, as well as the significantly less expensive "fuel" charges. Also, this volume of purchases of EVs and their batteries will help reduce the overall cost of EVs due to purchasing manufacturing in large volumes.

    Apr 04, 2022
  • anon

    Over 90% of routes can be done cheaply on EV vehicles . Please don’t get gas versions or do just 10% gas. That makes sense

    Mar 29, 2022
  • anon

    I fully support the USPS transition to EVs. We need to address urban air pollution in many regions of the USA plus reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Burning one gallon of gasoline produces approximately 19 pounds of CO2. Today, we are at 415 ppm of CO2 in the atmosphere and this trend continues upward as demonstrated by the Keeling Curve. Climate change correlates to droughts, wildfires, and other extreme weather events plus melting ice caps and glaciers leading to sea level rises and land intrusion. It's time to make the transition now to EVs for the future of our children, grandchildren and planet. Paul E Jacobs, 40 year air pollution expert and consultant.

    Mar 28, 2022
  • anon

    The economics of the decision clearly favors electric vehicles. The life of electric vehicles is much longer and minimal service is needed. The technology is here now. Battery life is improving daily. Try flipping the plan: 10 percent petroleum powered for the first of 10 years, and all electric after year one.

    Mar 25, 2022
  • anon

    If the EV is charged with electricity generated from coal, oil or gas does the EV burn less fossil fuel per vehicle than a gas powered vehicle ?

    Mar 25, 2022
  • anon

    Hi Richard, In many regions of the USA, electricity is generated by hydroelectric dams and renewable sources such as wind, tidal, solar and geothermal. In California, all electricity will be from these sources by 2045 and many states are following this same policy. So yes, EVs produce zero emissions when operated in these regions. In regions where electricity is generated by burning oil, gas and coal, there are emissions associated with recharging EVs but those power plants comply with strict EPA standards. Over time, they will be replaced with renewable energy power plants which means zero emissions. Paul E.Jacobs 40 plus years in air pollution control and lifetime Society of Automotive Engineers member.

    Mar 30, 2022
  • anon

    The USPS clearly gave the OIG incorrect information. The upfront cost of an EV, as formally bid during the contractual bidding process, was lower than the price being paid for the Oshkosh ICEs. Since the upfront cost was lower, even when adding in $7,300 as suggested by OIG, then the upfront cost was actually lower. This is possible because bidders could bid to the specification and did not need to include all kinds of consumer comfort features. Since the OIG recognizes that the fuel and maintenance are lower, then the OIG needs to formally request information about the bids and correct this report as necessary. If an additional $6.9 billion is added then the USPS will effectively be paying $108,000 per vehicle,

    Mar 23, 2022
  • anon

    In response to Charles' points: - Charging stations can be the size of an outlet (level 1/level2) or a smart charger can be about the size of my hand. There should possible to install where the vehicles live today. - The power failures comment is the largest concern. Assuming they equip the vehicles with a city range of 100mi and most vehicles only travel 20mi, with bad weather, etc the max usage would be between 20-40%. If the batteries stay charged each night, and there was a 100% outage one night, the vehicles should still be able to perform. - Power demand is a bell curve, high during the day (8-6pm) and low at night (6pm-8am). The grid can easily handle charging in those off hours.

    Mar 23, 2022
  • anon

    Because of budget constraints and rapidly advancing technology it might make sense to acquire the new fleet and associated chargers in several stages over a period of several years.

    Mar 22, 2022
  • anon

    To serve your small town and elderly customers electric vehicles are a must! How can we say we love our grandchildren without reducing the pollution, saving money, and improving our climate for them.

    Mar 22, 2022
  • anon

    What about building all those charging stations? We don't have any room at our post office for that, nor does numerous other offices. What about power failures because of storms, cold weather and excessive heat. How is the power grid going to handle all that. How about rolling blackouts out west? You all are idiots who have no idea what we do and need..

    Mar 22, 2022
  • anon

    So sad, clearly USPS doesn't understand the shipping industry and the direction transportation will be in the next 10 years based on this article. If USPS had really considered all bids for vehicles contracts fairly, I doubt it would end with Oshkosh.

    Mar 21, 2022
  • anon

    What is the cost to fully charge an EV for a full day delivery?

    Mar 21, 2022
  • anon

    I believe electric vehicles for letter carriers is the way to go!!!

    Mar 20, 2022
  • anon

    This report is based on a Postal Service model of estimated costs of vehicles and that data is redacted. In fact the USPS received two firm offers for electric vehicles. By supplying assumed data, rather than the actual offers, the USPS appears to have misled the OIG. By redacting the assumed data, for which there is no valid commercial or legal reason, the OIG appears to be misleading the public. The USPS has gone to considerable lengths to disguise the facts of the contract despite the statements by other agencies, such as the EPA, that the analysis, on which the award would have been based, was completely flawed.

    Mar 19, 2022
  • anon

    American taxpayers deserve a mail fleet with the lowest possible operating costs. USPS employees deserve to breathe clean air at work and should not be exposed to constant loud noise of combustion. As such, 100% of newly purchased mail vehicles should be electric.

    Mar 18, 2022
  • anon

    PLEASE do not purchase traditional gas powered trucks!!!!!! PUCHASE ONLY ELECTRIC VEHICLES, PLEASE!

    Mar 18, 2022

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Contributors

  • Tristan Dreisbach, Priscilla Lee, and Abigail Paterson contributed to this report.