Sept. 11 2009 09:40 AM

One of the greenest civilian fleets in the world just got a little greener. USPS will conduct a one-for-one replacement of 6,500 vehicles with 1,000 E-85 ethanol-capable and 900 gasoline/electric hybrid vehicles.

The swap is part of a vehicle purchase by the General Services Administration (GSA). The balance of the GSA purchase consists of 4,600 fuel-efficient, four-cylinder replacement vehicles that will be sent to USPS facilities across the country as the Postal Service continues to reduce the size of its fleet.

There was no cost to the Postal Service for the vehicles. GSA is paying all purchase and distribution expenses. 

With nearly 220,000 vehicles, the Postal Service operates and maintains the largest civilian fleet in the country. The vehicles from GSA will bring the total number of alternate fuel-capable vehicles in the Postal Service fleet to more than an incredible 43,000.

“With our fleet traveling more than 1.2 billion miles a year, the Postal Service consistently looks for ways to reduce the environmental footprint that results from visiting every home and business in America six days a week,” said Sam Pulcrano, Vice President, Sustainability. “The GSA fleet upgrade program will help us continue these strategies.”

The Postal Service has increased alternative-fuel use by 41% since 2006 and plans to reduce its use of petroleum by 20% over the next five years. Renewing its fleet with more efficient and alternative fuel-capable vehicles is a key to reaching the USPS goal.

“This is a unique opportunity for the Postal Service to continue working on our goals for improved fuel economy, greenhouse gas reductions and our position as an environmental leader,” says Wayne Corey, Manager, Vehicle Operations. Corey is overseeing the vehicle delivery.

The Postal Service has taken several steps to reduce the environmental impact of its fleet, including:
• Tests of three-wheel (T3) electric vehicles in Florida, California and Arizona. The T3, intended for mail delivery, is powered by two rechargeable batteries, has zero gas emissions and costs four cents a mile to operate.
• Tests of two fourth-generation Chevrolet Equinox hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles, which are being used to deliver mail in Irvine, California and in Washington, DC.
• In addition, USPS is using 35 propane-powered delivery vehicles in Florida and 300 biodiesel-powered vehicles throughout the country.