A week after USPS awarded a multi-billion dollar contract to Oshkosh Defense to produce the next generation of USPS trucks, the response on Capitol Hill has been mixed. While USPS undoubtedly needs a new fleet of trucks, Democrats criticized Oshkosh’s lack of commitment to electric vehicles. In response, 17 lawmakers—led by Representative Jared Huffman—have proposed a bill that would give $6 billion to USPS for the sole purpose of producing an all-electric delivery fleet.
$6 Billion Bill Would Be to Provide USPS with a Fully Electric Vehicle Fleet On Top of the Oshkosh Contract
Currently, Oshkosh’s production plan allots for just 10% of the new USPS fleet to be all-electric. However, in January, President Biden vowed to replace the Postal Service’s entire fleet of nearly 650,000 vehicles with electric models. This, in addition to the growing push to all-electric vehicles by some of the nation’s largest automakers, had critics wondering why USPS awarded the contract to Oshkosh in the first place, considering the lack of electric vehicles in their planned production schedule.
Last month, USPS said it could boost the 10% percentage in the Oshkosh contract if it received billions of dollars in government assistance. Without government intervention, however, USPS won’t be able to commit to a higher percentage of electric vehicles.
When lawmakers asked Postmaster General DeJoy what it would cost to make 90% of the USPS fleet electric vehicles, he said:
“We don’t have the 3 or 4 extra billion in our plan right now that it would take to do it.”
What’s in the Bill
The prosed bill to give USPS $6 billion for electric vehicles requires that:
- At least 75% of the Postal Service’s new fleet be electric or zero-emission vehicles
- No less than 50% of medium/heavy-duty vehicle purchases be electric or zero-emission through 2029
- All new USPS vehicles be zero-emission after January 2040
Some key Democrats back the legislation, including Representative Peter DeFazio (chair of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee) and Representative Carolyn Maloney (chair of the Oversight and Reform committee that oversees USPS).
Of course, USPS already faces its fair share of financial trouble; the Postal Service barely has enough budget to operate, let alone invest billions to commit to electric vehicles. If approved, $6 billion would certainly give USPS enough funding to commit to an all-electric fleet. However, without enough votes from both sides of the aisle, the bill’s chances of passing in both the House and the Senate are slim.