The U.S. Postal Service is undergoing a series of dramatic changes soon as the fiscal belt tightening continues. There has been a lot of talk about cancelling Saturday deliveries and switching the fleet of postal vehicles over from gas to electric or other alternative fuels.
The Canadian postal service is taking a different route. They recently secured a contract with Ford to purchase 1,175 Transit Connect vans. With substantially better gas mileage than the standard postal delivery vehicle, the switch could save millions of dollars every year for Canada. So when is the U.S. going to make the switch?
Just like the U.S. Postal Service, the Canada Post uses GM-built Grumman Long Life Vehicles. Designed for reliability and capability rather than fuel efficiency, the Grumman ceased production in 1994, after the USPS had purchased over 100,000 units. With 16 mpg in the city and 18 mpg on the highway, these vehicles guzzle down the gas despite their dimuntive size.
The switch to the Transit Connect nets an overall improvement of 6.5 mpg (17 combined for the LLV, 23.5 for the Transit). The USPS owns the largest fleet of civilian vehicles in the world, with 260,000 vehicles of various sizes operating at any one time. They estimate that a fuel price increase of one penny increases their cost to deliver mail by $8 million every year, and they spent over $1.7 billion in fuel in 2009. If the USPS made the same switch as the Canadian Post, it would save them hundreds of millions of dollars every year. Plus Ford is soon coming out with an electric Transit Connect that should be able to get 100 miles on a charge. That would cover most routes.
The USPS is experimenting with electric cars, natural gas, and other alternative fuels. But if they really wanted to make a big change right now, the Transit Connect (or something similar) would be a wise move. I’m tired of looking at those Grumman LLV’s anyway.
Source: Left Lane News | Image: Ford