Washington, D.C. – The U.S. Postal Service will replace 6,500 vehicles in its fleet with ethanol-capable, hybrid and four-cylinder vehicles.

The postal service will conduct a one-for-one replacement of the vehicles with 1,000 E85 ethanol-capable vehicles, and 900 gasoline-electric hybrid vehicles. The balance will consist of fuel-efficient four-cylinder models that will replace aging vehicles at postal offices and facilities across the country as the service continues to reduce the size of its fleet.

The vehicles are part of a purchase by the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), which will bear all purchase and distribution expenses.

The postal service operates and maintains nearly 220,000 vehicles, the largest civilian fleet in the U.S. The 1,900 new E85 and hybrid vehicles will bring the total number of alternate fuel-capable vehicles in the fleet to more than 43,000 units. The service has increased alternative fuel use by 41 per cent since 2006, and plans to reduce petroleum use by 20 per cent over the next five years.

“With our fleet travelling more than 1.2 billion miles a year, the Postal Service consistently looks for ways to reduce the environmental footprint that results from visiting every home and business in America six days a week,” said Sam Pulcrano, vice-president of sustainability. “The GSA fleet upgrade program will help us continue these strategies.”

The postal service is currently delivering mail on a trial basis using three-wheeled electric vehicles in Florida, California and Arizona; is testing two Chevrolet Equinox hydrogen fuel cell vehicles in Irvine, California and Washington, D.C.; is using 35 propane-powered delivery vehicles in Florida; and is running 300 vehicles nationwide that are powered by biodiesel fuel.

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