The United States Postal Service (USPS) has the world's largest civilian fleet, with many of its delivery vehicles reaching the end of their expected 24-year operational lives. USPS is subject to legislative requirements governing the federal fleet, including a requirement in the Energy Policy Act of 1992, which provides that 75 percent of USPS's vehicle acquisitions be alternative fuel vehicles, capable of operating on a fuel other than gasoline. USPS is also facing serious cost pressures in maintaining a national network of processing and retail operations. Asked to review USPS's delivery fleet, GAO (1) profiled the fleet; (2) assessed USPS's response to alternative fuel vehicle requirements and described its experiences with these vehicles; (3) identified USPS's approach for addressing its delivery fleet needs, including trade-offs; and (4) determined options to fund a major acquisition of delivery vehicles. GAO analyzed USPS data; visited USPS facilities in three locations; and interviewed officials from USPS, the Department of Energy, and other organizations, including fleet operators and manufacturers.
Recommendations for Executive Action
|United States Postal Service||Given USPS's need to ensure that its delivery fleet remains operationally viable and maintain its legal mandate to purchase alternative fuel vehicles and use alternative fuel in them, the Postmaster General should develop a strategy and timeline for addressing USPS's delivery fleet needs. This effort should address: (1) the effects of USPS's planned operational changes and continuing changes in customers' use of the mail on future delivery fleet requirements; (2) the range of strategic options available (including continuing to maintain, not replace, its fleet), as well as the costs and time frames for these options; (3) an analysis of any safety consequences associated with extending the vehicles' operational lives; and (4) alternative ways to comply with federal fleet requirements, including an analysis of how USPS can best meet these requirements, given its budget constraints.|