Why Is Congress Investigating the New USPS Mail Truck?

Late last April, California and 15 other states announced that they were seeking to halt the purchase of new USPS mail trucks, known as the Oshkosh Next Generation Delivery Vehicle. While the NGDV has certainly been polarizing due to its design, the three separate lawsuits had to do with what’s under the hood of this new mail truck. So, why exactly is the United States Postal Service facing lawsuits and what do they mean for the future of the NGDV?

The Oshkosh NGDV is in trouble

Attorneys general from 16 different states have sued in San Francisco over the new USPS mail truck. The goal is to halt the purchase of thousands of NGDV trucks over the use of combustion engines. Undoubtedly, these legal challenges can be traced back to an executive order from President Biden that was issued in December of 2021. The EO called for government fleets to transition to more electric vehicles to help with environmental impacts and overall efficiency.

The Oshkosh NGDV is the next generation of USPS mail trucks.
Oshkosh Next Generation Delivery Vehicle | Oshkosh

By design, the postal service has more autonomy than other government agencies. So, despite some early complaints, postmaster general DeJoy was able to circumvent the order and buy a majority of new mail trucks that used gas-powered engines. 

In addition to trouble at the state level, House Democrats have also signaled interest in investigating the situation around the new USPS mail truck. The investigations surround things like the environmental impact study conducted by USPS for the NGDV among other things. 

Will the new USPS mail truck be electric?

The Oshkosh NGDV does have the ability to come outfitted with an electric powertrain. According to The Verge, of the 50,000 new mail trucks on order, 10,019 are set to be EVs. It is important to note that Oshkosh has stated that this number could be increased. But, that would lead to a higher cost for the postal service. DeJoy has said if more EV mail trucks are needed, a budget increase for USPS would need to occur. 

Considering the agency’s resistance to new EV mail trucks, the fact that the USPS has nearly doubled its order of electric trucks is fairly impressive. But, the efforts have not been enough to satisfy states ranging from New Jersey to New Mexico. 

Is the Grumman LLV being retired?

After decades of service, the Grumman LLV is finally being retired. While the process has certainly not been a quick one, it is considered by many to be overdue. Of the 190,000 delivery vehicles currently in the USPS’s fleet, many lack basic safety features like airbags and anti-lock brakes. 

A Grumman LLV mail truck sits in a local neighborhood with USPS livery.
Grumman LLV | IFCAR

So, even if the new mail truck is not loved by all, it will hopefully improve the job of mail carriers. And, according to MotorTrend, more EV mail trucks can always be ordered. Perhaps if the postal service is pressured enough by the legal troubles, more electric versions of the NGDV will be ordered. 

Until then, appreciate the aging Grumman LLV truck. Because in the coming years, whoever delivers your mail will likely be pulling up in a new mail truck.

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