Irvine, California – The U.S. Postal Service plans to identify new, more environmentally-friendly vehicle technologies to replace the 195,000 neighbourhood delivery vehicles of its total 220,000 fleet. The announcement came during a ceremony in which General Motors presented a Chevrolet Equinox Fuel Cell electric vehicle to the Postal Service for testing in a mail-delivery environment.

“We are looking for a vehicle that operates from a fuel source that reduces or eliminates our dependence on petroleum products, that is good for the environment, good for our customers and good for the Postal Service,” said Walter O’Tormey, vice-president of Engineering for the Postal Service. The vehicle will be tested in Irvine, California.

Moving forward with non-petroleum vehicles is more important to the mail service that ever, O’Tormey said, since a one-cent increase in a gallon of fuel adds US$8 million annually to expenses. Fuel costs last year were US$1.7 billion and are expected to increase this year by US$600 million.

“We are very encouraged by GM’s fuel cell technology,” O’Tormey said. “We also want to explore other options, such as hybrid electric, plug-in hybrid and other ‘green’ vehicles that will help us continue to provide our customers with reliable service while protecting the environment.”

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