Friday, October 26, 2012

What If the USPS Ran Without Fuel? Case Study

Well, I don't think anyone is surprised the United States Post Office is having trouble paying their bills, or staying in business at the current price they are charging for stamps. Also I don't think anyone would be surprised that if they raise the price of stamps further, fewer of us will mail letters. Indeed, it is also very obvious that we are all using more e-mail, faxes, and other ways of communication, and therefore the old art of letter writing is dead. Of course, this amounts to billions of dollars in lost revenue at the USPS, and some wonder if this is even a viable method of delivery anymore?

In the future, folks will use 3-D facsimile, or 3-D printing to order various things for their home and they will get delivered without the post office, UPS, or FedEx Home Delivery. Perhaps the biggest question is how do we cut the cost at the USPS so they can still operate until they are no longer needed, perhaps in a couple of decades, or maybe less? One thought which keeps reoccurring at our think tank, and is especially popular amongst the global warming alarmists, and their new religion of alternative energy is to have the USPS get all hybrid vehicles.

Consider if you will the huge cost of fuel for the post office, as the price per gallon is up over four dollars here in 2012. Can they go with all electric vehicles? Actually, since postal vehicles only drive a small distance each day, and they go on the same route, and those routes are quite close to the post office, the reality is that yes they could use electric vehicles. Interestingly enough many post offices already are, and the vehicles come back, plug-in at night, get charged up, and the next day they go out on the route. It actually works pretty well, and there is some savings there.
However, there is a big problem and that is the cost of batteries, and those batteries weigh in at quite a bit, and most of the new postal vehicles are not really set up for all that extra weight, and therefore they have to be redesigned. The post offices that do use electric vehicles have custom electric vehicles, not modifications of old jeeps, or the new LLVs.

Does a hybrid vehicle makes sense instead?

Actually, there are some post offices that have hybrid vehicles as well, and the answer to that question is yes. Unfortunately, the money has to come from somewhere to buy these vehicles, and they are quite a bit more expensive. There are many reasons why these types of vehicles cost more, one is that any time a vehicle has dual systems, you have to pay more, and the second reason is they haven't bought them in bulk for all the post office is yet.

Many folks would like to see more hybrids on the road. Having the post office make a huge expenditure and buy hundreds of thousands of these vehicles all at once, and with that lower price whichever car maker gets the contract, they can also make hybrids for all the rest of us to drive around, which would also keep the price low.

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