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Why the U.S. Postal Service Ended Up With Gas-Guzzling Trucks

Bureaucracy and a seven-year process didn’t leave the agency much room to change course.

Mail delivery vehicles parked outside a USPS distribution center in Chicago, Illinois.

Mail delivery vehicles parked outside a USPS distribution center in Chicago, Illinois.

Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg
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The world is going wild for electric vehicles, but not the United States Postal Service. The agency said earlier this week it is moving forward with a plan to replace its current mail trucks with a new fleet powered almost entirely by internal combustion engines. The $6 billion contract with defense contractor Oshkosh calls for up to 165,000 mail trucks to be delivered over the next 10 years. The vehicles get between 8.6 and 14.7 miles per gallon.