The United States Postal Service plays a vital role in the transportation of vital documents and packages throughout the country. Despite this, the USPS trucks that make all of this happen are decades old. Additionally, an alarming amount of these trucks have caught fire in recent years. According to Car and Driver via Trucks, although USPS has over $6 billion available to replace these aging machines, it isn’t ready to do so just yet.
These USPS Trucks are falling apart
The Grumman LLV USPS truck was originally manufactured between 1987 and 1994. According to Car and Driver, these small trucks were intended to have a 24-year lifespan. Unfortunately, all of the trucks currently in service have surpassed that age. According to Trucks, in the last five years or so, 120 Grumman LLV’s have caught fire. What makes this even more concerning is the fact that no one truly knows why the fires began.
As of writing, Trucks reports that there are around 140,000 of these aging machines currently in use. According to Trucks, a 2014 audit revealed that the current fleet was expected to meet delivery needs through 2017. Given the increase in online ordering and mail-in voting during the recent presidential election, these machines are undoubtedly struggling to keep up.
There is $6 billion available for new ones
It’s not like the United States Postal Service doesn’t have the money to replace its mail trucks. According to Car and Driver, around $6 billion is available to construct a new fleet of USPS trucks. The United States Postal Service has been looking for a manufacturer to build the next generation of mail delivery vehicles for over five years. Trucks report that the new contract would see the construction of around 180,000 new USPS trucks. However, several delays have made the process incredibly slow.
The latest delay in the production of new USPS trucks is directly tied to COVID-19. While the contract was supposed to be awarded several years ago, it will now be announced sometime in 2021.
According to Car and Driver, there are three new USPS trucks under consideration. The first is an all-electric truck by Workhorse, an Ohio-based company. The second is a plug-in hybrid truck by Turkish manufacturer Karsan. The final is a traditional internal combustion truck by Oshkosh in Wisconsin. If the previous span of trucks is anything to go by, these new vehicles will have to stand the test of time.
Each truck costs around $3,000 per year to run
Since it appears the current crop of USPS trucks will be in service for a significant amount of time, it’s worth looking at their upkeep costs. As it stands, USPS spends around $3,000 per year for each vehicle just on maintenance alone. This means that not only is the fleet old, but it is also quite costly to keep running. Additionally, Car and Driver reports that these machines only get 10 mpg, adding to the overall running costs.
As we move into the holiday season just after a major election, these tiny USPS trucks will be running at maximum effort. Unfortunately for the general population and the workers who run them, these outdated machines will have to keep going.