The Inflation Discount Act, which President Biden signed into legislation this week, features a windfall for america Postal Service: $1.29 billion for the acquisition of zero-emission supply vans, plus $1.71 billion for accompanying infrastructure, like charging ports, to help these autos.
Now, the query turns into: Will the USPS transfer ahead with already introduced plans to purchase a fleet of gas-guzzling vans?
Earlier this yr, USPS introduced that it might purchase 165,000 vans from the producer Oshkosh Protection, and that 90 % of these can be gasoline powered. Environmental activists and Democratic politicians had been outraged. Sixteen states and two environmental teams filed lawsuits.
The company has since recalibrated, saying final month that it might bump the proportion of electrical mail vans as much as 40 % of the brand new fleet. However with the passage of the IRA, the USPS is operating out of causes to maneuver ahead with buying any gas-powered autos in any respect.
In 2021, the USPS performed an environmental affect evaluate that discovered that it might value $2.3 billion extra to buy 100% electrical autos than it might to buy a fleet with simply 10 % electrical autos. However the Environmental Safety Company discovered that evaluation to be flawed. As Adrian Martinez, senior legal professional on Earthjustice’s Proper to Zero marketing campaign, informed me final week, “That evaluation was so garbled and unsubstantiated, that really they may have labored out 100% [electric] even with present quantities [of funding].” Nonetheless, he mentioned, if we take the USPS’ evaluate at face worth, the $3 billion outlined within the IRA ought to be sufficient to bridge the hole.
Postmaster Common Louis DeJoy didn’t point out the brand new funding throughout his remarks on the USPS Board of Governors assembly final week, however he did say that the company would “capitalize on any EV alternatives…as our working technique continues to evolve.”
Till the USPS formalizes a brand new contract with Oshkosh Protection, the producer of the brand new vans, the lawsuits filed by states and environmental teams will go on. “Till they vacate that call, we’re gonna proceed with the litigation,” Martinez mentioned. “We’d like higher assurances than by way of press launch about what their intentions are.”
Kim Frum, senior public relations consultant at USPS, mentioned to me in an e mail, “We have now been monitoring the curiosity of Congress in funding electrification and may funding be enacted we are going to assess the affect on our plans.”
It doesn’t matter what occurs, the IRA’s provision for the electrification of the postal fleet is a promising signal. “This funding additional confirms that their type of heavy bend in direction of gasoline guzzling vans is simply improper,” Martinez mentioned, “and there’s a web help for them going electrical.”
Replace, August 18, 3:00 p.m.: This story has been up to date to mirror a remark from USPS.