USPS Trying To Finally Replace Old, Gas-Guzzling Fleet Of Delivery Trucks

In an effort to stop effectively pouring money straight into the gas tank, the United States Postal Service has taken the first step toward retiring its fleet of decades old, gas-guzzling trucks. The agency spent more than $539.7 million on fuel in its last fiscal year, partly because some of the trucks are just so darn old.

The white trucks we all know so well showed up in the late 1980s and early 1990s — long before, my young grasshoppers — making them pretty much dinosaurs in the new consumer world that has emerged since then, notes the Wall Street Journal.

Namely, they’re too small, inefficient (getting around 10 miles to the gallon) and unsafe to do the job right. So the USPS is starting the process to figure out how it can retire the aging fleet. It’s issued a request for information to start the process off.

Thus far General Motors is interested in winning the contract, which could bring in about $5 billion in revenue for the winner.

“Though the existing fleet has served the Postal Service well, it has become expensive to continue to maintain the aging vehicles. More importantly though,” a USPS spokeswoman told the WSJ, “shifts in consumer trends are driving a lot of factors being considered in a next-generation vehicle.”

Changing up the trucks won’t only bring in some cash for whichever automaker wins the contract, but will also save the USPS in fuel and logistical improvements. It’s already bleeding cash, and this could help to stem that flow.

The USPS is looking for about 180,000 “next-generation delivery vehicles” which would eventually replace its 163,000 light-duty mail trucks it’s using now. Those trucks were designed to deliver letters, and are now used at a time when the USPS delivers more packages than snail mail letters.

Also, letter carriers want cupholders, among other things.

“The postal service is experiencing record growth in package delivery, and obtaining vehicles that are designed with the changing mail mix in mind will help improve efficiency of delivery operations,” the spokeswoman said, adding that the USPS is open to any proposal it receives.

The USPS will hold a conference on Feb. 18 to answer questions from potential suppliers about the process, she says.

“It’s the right time not only because of maintenance challenges but because it’s a good opportunity to improve efficiency,” she said.

Postal Service Seeks to Retire the Old Mail Truck [Wall Street Journal]

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