Fuel Management

USPS' Fuel Use Increased in 2012 Due to Growth in Number of Delivery Routes

June 27, 2013

The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) released its 2012 Sustainability Report, which outlined its progress toward meeting various environmental goals, including ones for its fleet. One goal was to reduce petroleum fuel use by 20% by 2015, compared with a 2005 baseline. In 2012, the USPS found its fleet fuel use increased 4.6% from FY-2011 to FY-2012.

The primary cause of this increase, according to the report, was the addition of 690,000 city and rural delivery points to the USPS’ route network.

For its contract transportation fuel use, the USPS decreased its use by 0.9% compared with the FY-2008 baseline, but between FY-2011 and FY-2012, its contract transportation fuel use increased. The USPS said its contract air transportation mail-carrying service contributed to the increase in 2012.

The USPS did note that some of its regional districts have been able to cut fuel use and improve efficiencies, for example its Atlanta District. This District set up a team to evaluate delivery routes for more than 40 offices, and since 2011, the District has reduced its vehicle mileage by 850 per day. This has saved 17,000 gallons of fuel per year and $50,000 in fuel costs.

The USPS has also managed to reduce its fleet size since 2011. In FY-2011, the USPS had 213,881 vehicles, and in FY-2012, it had 212,530, a decrease of 1,351 vehicles.

In terms of using alternative fuels, the USPS is making progress toward this goal. The organization stated it’s on track to increase alternative-fuel use by 10 percent annually, with a goal of using 2.5 million gasoline gallon equivalents (GGEs) by 2015. In FY-2012, the USPS used 2.3 million GGEs. Aside from vehicles capable of running on E-85, the USPS operates 914 hybrids, 497 compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles, 43 electric vehicles, and 31 propane autogas-fueled vehicles.

With regard to CNG use, the USPS stated that its locations in Texas, specifically in Corpus Christi and Austin, are leading the way. The USPS’ North East Station in Austin has 30 CNG vehicles that it has operated for more than a year. Meanwhile, the USPS’ Corpus Christi Post Office has nearly doubled its fleet of CNG-fueled vehicles to 80 during the past two years.

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