Electric Vehicles no image

Published on January 28th, 2010 | by Christopher DeMorro

16

Postal Service Could Get $2 Billion To Electrify 20,000 Vehicles

[social_buttons]

The United States Postal service is the second largest civilian employer in the country, after Wal-Mart. Over 650,000 are employed by the USPS, which utilizes some 260,000 vehicles. While 43,000 of these vehicles run on E85 fuel, they still manage to get an average of just 9 mpg. Pretty terrible gas mileage, and E85 made with today’s methods isn’t all that much better when it comes to carbon emissions anyway.

Perhaps that is why the government is considering granting the USPS $2 billion to electrify 20,000 delivery vehicles. And if there is any government agency that could benefit from electric vehicles, it is definitely the USPS.

Considering how much of the mail is delivered by local-only vehicles that rarely even break the speed limit, electric vehicles make sense. They wouldn’t be required to have an extended range (25-30 miles per day would probably be more than adequate), they could all be charged at a single location, and it would certainly help save money. The USPS has explored other options for delivering the mail such as e-scooters and and hybrid trucks because they really need to turn their “revenue-neutral” business around. The USPS is hemorrhaging cash; between the last quarter of 2008, and the first two quarters of 2009, the USPS lost $4.69 billion. That ain’t exactly chump change.

Neither is $2 billion, and the money might not even make it to the USPS. Even if it does, those 20,000 vehicles represent just 15% of the USPS’s fleet of vehicles, and the cost comes out to $100,000 per vehicle. Umm, what are they planning on delivering the mail in, Tesla Roadsters? Why not pay some private firms to convert those glorified go-karts I see putzing around town to electric power? It could probably be done for under $25,000 per vehicle (a guesstimate, though plenty of people have electrified their vehicles for far less).

The bill, H.R. 4399, is being pushed by Rep. Jose E. Serrano. We’ll have to see if it makes it through. In the end it could go a long way towards curbing those outrageous annual losses.

Source: Green Car Advisor | Image: Chrysler


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


About the Author

A writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs, can be found wrenching or writing- or esle, he's running, because he's one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.



  • Martin K

    FedEx and UPS are able to turn a profit without electric vehicles. This is just a gimmick.

  • Martin K

    FedEx and UPS are able to turn a profit without electric vehicles. This is just a gimmick.

  • http://www.cleanairchoice.org Robert Moffitt

    “Pretty terrible gas mileage, and E85 made with today’s methods isn’t all that much better when it comes to carbon emissions anyway.”

    Gasoline-burners emit much more than just carbon. Using E85 instead of gasoline reduce a number of very serious air pollutants. Plus, it’s largely renewable.

  • http://www.cleanairchoice.org Robert Moffitt

    “Pretty terrible gas mileage, and E85 made with today’s methods isn’t all that much better when it comes to carbon emissions anyway.”

    Gasoline-burners emit much more than just carbon. Using E85 instead of gasoline reduce a number of very serious air pollutants. Plus, it’s largely renewable.

  • http://chrisdemorro.com/ Christopher DeMorro

    Yes, but you have to burn, on average, 30% more E85 to go the same distance as gasoline will take you. Depending on what study you read, E85 is either slightly better, or slightly worse, than petrol.

    I just think electric vehicles make more sense for the USPS.

  • http://chrisdemorro.com/ Christopher DeMorro

    Yes, but you have to burn, on average, 30% more E85 to go the same distance as gasoline will take you. Depending on what study you read, E85 is either slightly better, or slightly worse, than petrol.

    I just think electric vehicles make more sense for the USPS.

  • http://www.cleanairchoice.org Robert Moffitt

    Thirty percent is on the high end of the various numbers you hear tossed around on the lower miles-per-gallon you will get on E85 vs. gasoline. Many real-world users of E85 (including myself) do much better than that.

    Interestingly, many of the same folks who bash E85′s lower MPG ignore gasoline’s lower MPG when compared to diesel.

    The post office (Coon Rapids, MN) near my home uses E85 in its delivery vehicles. The station is less than a block from the post office, and E85 is always 40 cents cheaper than regular unleaded. So for us, it works, especially in Minnesota, were our winters would be tough on many all-electric vehicles.

  • http://www.cleanairchoice.org Robert Moffitt

    Thirty percent is on the high end of the various numbers you hear tossed around on the lower miles-per-gallon you will get on E85 vs. gasoline. Many real-world users of E85 (including myself) do much better than that.

    Interestingly, many of the same folks who bash E85′s lower MPG ignore gasoline’s lower MPG when compared to diesel.

    The post office (Coon Rapids, MN) near my home uses E85 in its delivery vehicles. The station is less than a block from the post office, and E85 is always 40 cents cheaper than regular unleaded. So for us, it works, especially in Minnesota, were our winters would be tough on many all-electric vehicles.

  • Greg Calise

    Gee, 2 billion dollars for 20,000 electric vehicles. That comes to $100,000 per vehicle. Sounds pretty expensive.

  • Greg Calise

    Gee, 2 billion dollars for 20,000 electric vehicles. That comes to $100,000 per vehicle. Sounds pretty expensive.

  • C. Shelby

    FedEx and UPS charge more and are not required by law to deliver a letter to Alaska in the bitter ice for the same price as it costs to deliver it down the street. USPS is bound by Universal Service to deliver to far reaching and VERY costly locations that FedEx and UPS don’t touch because it’s not profitable and will probably surcharge if it’s not profitable. In fact, USPS frequently completes the “last mile” for FedEx and may also be doing this for UPS.

    I’ve very proud of all the green efforts USPS is testing and trying to implement. USPS has a huge carbon footprint and any experiments that are successful are likely to be duplicated by other companies. These “tests” will not only show what is viable but will invest the needed money into these green technolgies so they can expand and grow making them affordable to others.

    As for the $100K per car. It may sound pricey but charging stations have to be build with infrastructure to support them in many different locations. Mechanics have to be trained and supplied with parts to fix these vehicles down the road (USPS has a full staff of mechanics and stations that fix USPS vehicles). I’m sure there other costs that have to be considered above the vehicle. If there is money left over, it will probably be invested in more vehicles.

  • C. Shelby

    FedEx and UPS charge more and are not required by law to deliver a letter to Alaska in the bitter ice for the same price as it costs to deliver it down the street. USPS is bound by Universal Service to deliver to far reaching and VERY costly locations that FedEx and UPS don’t touch because it’s not profitable and will probably surcharge if it’s not profitable. In fact, USPS frequently completes the “last mile” for FedEx and may also be doing this for UPS.

    I’ve very proud of all the green efforts USPS is testing and trying to implement. USPS has a huge carbon footprint and any experiments that are successful are likely to be duplicated by other companies. These “tests” will not only show what is viable but will invest the needed money into these green technolgies so they can expand and grow making them affordable to others.

    As for the $100K per car. It may sound pricey but charging stations have to be build with infrastructure to support them in many different locations. Mechanics have to be trained and supplied with parts to fix these vehicles down the road (USPS has a full staff of mechanics and stations that fix USPS vehicles). I’m sure there other costs that have to be considered above the vehicle. If there is money left over, it will probably be invested in more vehicles.

  • ChuckL

    Let’s see, The Ford Transit is supposed to sell for less than #30,000. That would provide over 66,000 new fully electric vehicles.

    Converting the existing vehicles would seem to be STUPID.

  • ChuckL

    Let’s see, The Ford Transit is supposed to sell for less than #30,000. That would provide over 66,000 new fully electric vehicles.

    Converting the existing vehicles would seem to be STUPID.

  • juangault

    USPS delivery vehicles might be a very good platform to try different “real-life” platforms or variances of the electric vehicle idea. While the price is high, it might end up saving some private industry trial and error, with resulting consumer reluctance, if things didn’t go right. Anyway, if Chrysler does build the vehicle, the steering wheel should be on the curb side. I was wondering, has the extra cost of making the delivery trucks out of aluminum has been fully amortized?

  • juangault

    USPS delivery vehicles might be a very good platform to try different “real-life” platforms or variances of the electric vehicle idea. While the price is high, it might end up saving some private industry trial and error, with resulting consumer reluctance, if things didn’t go right. Anyway, if Chrysler does build the vehicle, the steering wheel should be on the curb side. I was wondering, has the extra cost of making the delivery trucks out of aluminum has been fully amortized?

Back to Top ↑