Green Fleet

USPS Boosts Alt-Fuel Use Between 2009 and 2010

July 27, 2011

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Postal Service recently released its sustainability report earlier this month, which detailed its progress related to improving its fleet's fuel economy. The USPS operates a fleet of more than 215,000 vehicles, and with its substantial budget problems, is putting together plans to reduce costs.

Despite the challenges of delivering mail to an additional 1 million customers each year, between 2009 and 2010, the USPS replaced 6,558 gasoline-powered vehicles with more fuel-efficient ones. It also increased use of alternative fuels to 2.2 million gasoline gallon equivalents (GGE), which was a 9-percent increase from 2009 and a 133-percent increase from a 2005 baseline.

The USPS saw a 3.5-percent increase in total fuel used between 2009 and 2010 when compared with the 2005 baseline.

USPS operates more than 44,000 alternative-fuel vehicles that run on fuels such as ethanol, compressed natural gas, liquid propane, bio-diesel, and on electricity. This focus on alternative-fuel vehicles will only grow in the years to come, especially in the context of the Obama Administration's federal fleet alt-fuel mandate.

In terms of fuel-economy goals, the federal organization plans to reduce petroleum-based fuel use by 20 percent by fiscal-year 2015 and increase alternative-fuel use by 10 percent by that same target date. The USPS is measuring these goals against a 2005 fiscal-year baseline. It also intends to have its contractors reduce fuel use by 20 percent and said it’s working with them to achieve this goal.

Beyond setting goals and replacing existing vehicles with more fuel-efficient ones, USPS is testing hybrids and EVs for its fleet. The organization’s existing hybrid electric fleet consists of 10 Ford Escapes, 533 Chevrolet Malibus, and 370 Ford Fusion vehicles. Beyond the Azure Dynamics test, five companies are participating in a pilot program to convert USPS gasoline long-life vehicles to run on battery power. USPS plans to test the EV prototypes from each company this summer.

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