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Lawmaker wants the Postal Service fleet to go green

By Ed O'Keefe

The USPS fleet consumed 121 million gallons of fuel in 2008, costing the agency about $1.3 billion. (Nikki Kahn/the Washington Post)

The U.S. Postal Service operates about 220,000 vehicles -- the largest civilian fleet in the world. But most of the vehicles are gas-guzzlers that travel at slow speeds between mailboxes and then sit in parking lots after deliveries serving no other meaningful purpose. That's why a New York lawmaker wants the mail service to start using at least 20,000 electric vehicles to stamp out the agency's environmental waste.

As The Eye reports in Thursday's editions of The Post:

Rep. Jose E. Serrano (D-N.Y.) wants to put the postal fleet to use during off-hours to help alleviate the nation's overworked power grids. He introduced a bill Wednesday that would eventually give $2 billion to the Energy Department and Postal Service to convert current mail trucks or manufacture new ones that use vehicle-to-grid technology or V2G, as it's known.
The technology allows electricity to flow from plug-in electric or battery-powered vehicles to power lines, feeding excess electricity to the vehicles when they're not in use. In this case, postal vehicles would become temporary storage units for electricity. When necessary, power grids could retrieve electricity from the vehicles.
Delaware began rewarding consumers who use V2G this year. It compensates them for electricity sent back to the grid at the same rate they pay for electricity they consume.
An August report by the Postal Service inspector general said Serrano's proposal would be feasible if the government provided funding. The program would initially cost $65 million to start, Serrano aides said.

Continue reading this story >>>

By Ed O'Keefe  | December 17, 2009; 9:30 AM ET
Categories:  Agencies and Departments, Congress  
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