Manufacturer Oshkosh Defense is exploiting a long-standing loophole that incentivizes bigger, heavier vehicles that can pollute more.
To critics of the purchase, these don’t sound like defenses at all, but further indictments of the decision making that led to it. Katherine Garcia, director of the Sierra Club’s Clean Transportation for All Campaign, told Motherboard, “I think their statement is misleading by suggesting that they’re going to convert these vehicles because that would be even more expensive than moving forward with an electric fleet to begin with.” She cited a study by the Atlas Public Policy research group that EVs would actually save the agency billions of dollars, especially if the alternative is vehicles that get such poor gas mileage.
But this whole debate would be moot if not for a strange fact about the new USPS vehicles disclosed in a letter published by the EPA last week. If the vehicles weighed just one pound less, they wouldn’t be permitted on American roads because they pollute too much.
In fact, Garcia argues, if the trucks had a gross vehicle weight of just .01 percent less, the delivery fleet would almost certainly have to be electric to meet the EPA’s new fuel efficiency standards.
“We suspect it was intentional,” Garcia deadpanned.