US News The IRA Gives USPS Billions to Buy Electric Vehicles

tom_mai78101

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This Grumman 'Long Life Vehicles' is not long for this world.Mark Hertzberg/Zuma

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The Inflation Reduction Act, which President Biden signed into law this week, includes a windfall for the United States Postal Service: $1.29 billion for the purchase of zero-emission delivery trucks, plus $1.71 billion for accompanying infrastructure, like charging ports, to support those vehicles.

Now, the question becomes: Will the USPS move forward with already announced plans to buy a fleet of gas-guzzling trucks?

Earlier this year, USPS announced that it would buy 165,000 trucks from the manufacturer Oshkosh Defense, and that 90 percent of those would be gas powered. Environmental activists and Democratic politicians were outraged. Sixteen states and two environmental groups filed lawsuits.

The agency has since recalibrated, announcing last month that it would bump the proportion of electric mail trucks up to 40 percent of the new fleet. But with the passage of the IRA, the USPS is running out of reasons to move forward with purchasing any gas-powered vehicles at all.


 

The Helper

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Whatever, they just signed up to be huge Battery users especially during a time that the battery technology is evolving and is going to create a huge amount of waste and huge costs when those batteries need to be replaced. We do not even have a steady local lithium supply to support everyone in the US switching to Electric Vehicles now even if it was the law.
 

jonas

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Okay, but do we really need to switch everyone? Someone driving 5000 miles a year may not need to switch. Someone driving 100s of miles per day is a different story. Especially with stopping and starting every couple houses and city traffic. Changing one vehicle there saves a lot more emissions (not just climate, also smog etc.).

Postal service vehicles are more in the latter category and replacing them makes sense if the driving range and recharge rate can maintain current efficiency. Same with bug trucks, but less so since they travel mostly at fixed speed where the combustion engine is somewhat efficient.

This will also reduce competition for gas and lower gas prices a little bit. Especially if the energy for those vehicles comes from renewables.

But you're also right that there's a big question mark on what will happen to those cars in 5-10 years. It's easy to produce a lot of waste this way. Still I'm a little hopeful the battery recycling strategies tesla and others are trying right now can help minimize this.
 
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