The Postal Service is preparing to spend as much as $6 billion to retire those trucks starting in 2023. The fleet replacement is long overdue: LLVs have far exceeded their projected 24-year life spans and now have a reputation of catching fire after hundreds of thousands of miles of overuse. They are loathed by many postal workers, who say they broil during the summer and shiver in the winter when the heating system is inadequate. And they get only 10 miles to the gallon.
“Everybody has their own LLV story,” said Rubio, a retired letter carrier and a professor of history at North Carolina A&T State University. “I think it was a morale booster for letter carriers to see a new vehicle, to see a fleet, and to see something that looked good on the street.”