USPS Sued by California, Other States for Ordering Mostly ‘Gas Guzzling’ Postal Vehicles Instead of Clean Electrics

By Kate Hsu

WASHINGTON DC – In an effort to prevent the United States Postal Service from acquiring 148,000 “gas-guzzling” delivery trucks, 16 States and multiple environmental advocacy agencies have gone to court against USPS for basing its $11.3 billion spending on faulty assumptions and incomplete environmental analysis and calculations.

The plaintiffs note the new gasoline-powered vehicles get only an average of 8.6 miles per gallon and have polluting tailpipes. Electric vehicles get upwards of 100 or more equivalent miles per gallon, and have zero tailpipe emissions.

California Attorney General Rob Bonta charged the significance of USPS’ actions is the future of the environment, noting that “once this purchase goes through, we’ll be stuck with more than 100,000 new gas-guzzling vehicles on neighboring streets… for the next 30 years. There won’t be a reset button.”

Attorney General Bonta is currently leading the state’s case in the Northern District of California. He reiterated, “We’re going to court to make sure the Postal Service complies with the law and considers more environmentally friendly alternative before it makes this decision.”

Earthjustice Attorney Adrian Martinez described USPS’ environmental analysis as “incomplete, misleading and biased against cleaner vehicles.”

He emphasized that “the Postal Service signed a contract that paid millions of dollars for these vehicles first, before beginning its environmental analysis to justify its action, in blatant violation of [the National Environmental Policy Act].”

The written complaint noted, “The Postal Service’s improper action will not only needlessly pollute every American community for decades to come, but it will also cost millions more in taxpayer funds and leave the agency vulnerable to fluctuating fuel prices.”

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy argued that USPS has been struggling financially after decades of declining mail revenue, but many of its current trucks lack necessary safety features such as airbags and air conditionings, putting the truck at risk of catching fire after years of overuse. He emphasized, “We need to buy trucks.”

However, critics have argued that Biden’s most recent “Build Back Better social spending package” promised $6 billion for electric postal trucks and battery chargers, including a budget of $300 million for electric mail vehicles for 2023 alone.

President Biden has previously publicized that, by 2035, federal civilian fleets will be fully electric.

But, the suit alleges, with only a 10 percent electric commitment, USPS does not comply with the White House and other environmental activists’ goals.

In addition, these “gas guzzlers” would also stop states from achieving their individual environmental commitments

The current jurisdictions include California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington State, the District of Columbia and New York City.

About The Author

Kate is a third year undergraduate student at USC majoring in International Relations and Economics. She is passionate about people and stories, and aspires to pursue a career in HR, journalism or law.

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