They will use 110 million gallons of gasoline annually.
The United States Postal Service will soon retire its fleet of Grumman Long Life Vehicles (LLV) that have been in service since 1987 and went out of production in 1994. Oshkosh Defense is slated to supply 165,000 new Next Generation Delivery Vehicles (NGDV) to the USPS using engines, transmission, and other parts from Ford. The NGDV was originally set to be all-electric, but according to a Washington Post report, the cost was prohibitive.
Instead, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy ordered vehicles that will achieve 8.6 mpg with the air conditioning running, only a 0.4 mpg improvement over the current fleet and well below the industry average. Put in a way that car enthusiasts can understand, the new USPS van gets worse fuel economy than a RAM 1500 TRX or Bugatti Chiron. And did we mention it looks like a rejected character from a Pixar movie?
The USPS is set to pay $11.3 billion on these delivery vans over the next decade, which is why the Biden Administration has stepped in to delay the contract. Early last year, President Biden announced plans to replace the government's fleet (including the Postal Service) with electric vehicles. Obviously, 8.6-mpg vans don't meet the criteria, so the Environmental Protection Agency and the White House Council on Environmental Quality sent letters to the USPS, urging the organization to reevaluate the decision.
It's unclear how much the USPS has already sent to Oshkosh for the vans, but sources claim as much as $482 million has already been allocated. The EPA has publicly criticized the USPS for not conducting a thorough environmental analysis and basing its electrification plans on the current charging infrastructure, which is set to grow tremendously.
But wait, weren't these new mail delivery vehicles going to eventually transition to electric drivetrains? The USPS previously stated the NGDV could be converted to all-electric, but now says it has no such plans. Oshkosh has no previous experience building electric vehicles and has made no public statements regarding the NGDV, which has only been seen in a handful of pictures.
Building an electric delivery is far from impossible in 2022. The 2022 Ford e-Transit arrives this year sporting up to 126 miles of range. Companies like FedEX and Walmart will use GM's Brightdrop EV vans and Amazon will use Rivian vehicles. If the Oshkosh vehicles enter the fleet, they will burn 110 million gallons of gasoline annually, an 18% improvement over the outdated Grumman.