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Life Cycle Greenhouse Gas Emissions of the USPS Next-Generation Delivery Vehicle Fleet

CSS Publication Number
Full Publication Date
August 26, 2022

The United States Postal Service (USPS) plans to purchase 165,000 next-generation delivery vehicles (NGDVs) between 2023 and 2032. The USPS submitted an environmental impact statement (EIS) for two NGDV procurement scenarios: (1) 90% internal combustion engine vehicles (ICEVs) and 10% battery electric vehicles (BEVs) (“ICEV scenario”) and (2) 100% BEVs (“BEV scenario”). To correct several significant deficiencies in the EIS, we conduct a cradle-to-grave life cycle greenhouse gas (GHG) assessment of these two scenarios. Our analysis improves upon the USPS’s EIS by including vehicle production and end-of-life emissions, future grid decarbonization, and more accurate vehicle operating emissions. In our base case, we find that the ICEV and BEV scenarios would result in 15% greater and 8% fewer GHG emissions, respectively, than the USPS estimate. Favorable vehicle and grid development would result in 63% lower BEV scenario emissions than the USPS estimate. Consequently, we calculate a cumulative lifetime emission reduction of 57–82% (14.7–21.4 Mt CO2e) from procuring 100% BEVs instead of 10% BEVs, compared to the USPS’s estimate of 10.3 Mt. Given the long NGDV lifetimes, committing to the ICEV scenario squanders an ideal use case for BEVs, jeopardizes meeting our climate goals, and forgoes potential climate and environmental justice co-benefits.

Research Areas
Mobility Systems

Life cycle assessment, electric vehicles postal service, delivery fleet, climate policy, energy

Publication Type
Journal Article
Digital Object Identifier
Full Citation

Woody, Maxwell, Parth Vaishnav, Michael T. Craig, and Gregory A. Keoleian. 2022. Life Cycle Greenhouse Gas Emissions of the USPS Next-Generation Delivery Vehicle Fleet. Environmental Sciences and Technology, XXXX, XXX, XXX-XXX. CSS22-16.