In observance of Earth Day, Congressman Jared Huffman introduced the Federal Leadership in Energy Efficient Transportation (FLEET) Act of 2019, a proposal to transform the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) fleet with modern, efficient vehicles that use less oil, produce less pollution, and save taxpayer money.
“The Postal Service is one institution with a lot of room for improvement, crippled by an inefficient, outdated fleet, with most of these vehicles reaching the end of their operational lives. The FLEET Act will help invest in a modern, efficient Postal Service fleet and transform our nation’s largest civilian fleet into a global leader in efficiency and innovation,” Rep. Huffman said in a press release.
A press release from Rep. Huffman notes that the USPS fleet includes more than 141,000 Grumman LLVs. These vehicles first entered service in 1987, and the majority have reached the end of their 24-year operational lifespan.
The Grumman LLV averages only 10 miles per gallon, which leads to high fuel costs for the agency — in fiscal-year 2016, USPS purchased 251 million gallons of diesel at a cost of more than $570 million, making the USPS one of the largest consumers of diesel fuel in the country.
The FLEET Act of 2019 aims to save millions of dollars in annual fuel and maintenance costs by modernizing the fleet. This proposed legislation:
- Requires USPS to reduce petroleum consumption by 2% every year over the next 10 years
- Sets minimum fuel efficiency and tailpipe emission standards for all new fleet vehicles
- Instructs USPS to incorporate new technologies into postal routes that increase fuel economy or reduce tailpipe emissions and use these new technologies to inform purchasing decisions
- Requires USPS to replace old vehicles that require costly maintenance
- Provides USPS with funding tools to help cover the cost of upgrading its fleet, such as Energy Utility Savings Performance Contracts — regulations currently used to accelerate investment in cost-effective energy conservation measures for federal buildings.
This isn’t the first attempt by Congress to update the fleet. Ref. Huffman introduced a similar bill in 2014 to make the USPS fleet more efficient. Since then, the cost per mile for USPS vehicles has risen from $1.17 in FY-12 to $1.25 in FY-17.
According to the U.S. General Service Administration’s Federal Fleet Report for fiscal-year 2017, the USPS owns and leases 229,247 vehicles. The average age of vehicles in the USPS fleet during FY-17 was 20.2 years old.