It’s Wednesday, December 21, and USPS is upping its electric vehicle ambitions.

The United States Postal Service said on Tuesday it expects to buy more than 66,000 electric vehicles by the end of 2028 — a significantly higher target than the carrier’s previous plan.

“Every neighborhood, every household in America deserves to have electric USPS trucks delivering clean air with their mail, and today’s announcement takes us almost all the way there,” Adrian Martinez, an attorney at the nonprofit Earthjustice, said in a statement.

The announcement comes ahead of a major buying spree for the USPS, which said in 2021 it would purchase up to 165,000 new delivery vehicles over the next 10 years to begin replacing its aging, polluting fleet. At first, the independent agency, which is led by a major donor to former President Donald Trump, said only 10 percent of these new vehicles would be fully electric, claiming the new gasoline-powered models were scarcely more efficient than the mail carrier’s existing vehicles. But the planned proportion of EV purchases has been bumped up multiple times following pressure from the Biden administration, which wants federal vehicle purchases to be 100 percent emissions-free by 2035.

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Under USPS’s new plan, EVs account for more than 62 percent of its planned delivery vehicle purchases. Some 45,000 of these are expected to come from the defense contractor Oshkosh — which has designed both gasoline-powered and electric versions of a “next generation delivery vehicle” for USPS — and an additional 21,000 EVs will come from other automakers. USPS says it will spend some $9.6 billion, including $3 billion allocated by the Inflation Reduction Act, on these vehicles and infrastructure to support them

After 2026, USPS has pledged to purchase only EVs, a victory for Biden and the Democrats.

The postmaster general “has finally heeded my call to electrify the USPS fleet,” tweeted Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey, a Democrat. “[B]ut if @USPS wants a full stamp of approval it must ensure the workers building the fleet can collectively bargain,” he added, referring to an ongoing fight by workers to get Oshkosh to build new USPS vehicles under a union contract in Wisconsin, rather than at a new non-union facility in the South.

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