Photo of Royal Mail vans via Wikipedia.

Photo of Royal Mail vans via Wikipedia.

The U.S. Postal Service's Office of Inspector General (OIG) has recommended four best practices and strategies for replacing vehicles based on a study of postal operations in the United Kingdom, Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, and Finland.

The USPS is now finalizing its strategy for future vehicle purchases. The quasigovernmental agency plans to replace the majority of its 180,000 Long Life Vehicles (LLVs), and has identified 15 possible manufacturers for the next-generation delivery vehicle.

The OIG's findings included suggestions for the USPS to purchase or lease new vehicles within a three- to nine-year replacement cycle; operate vehicles primarily on diesel or biodiesel with limited investment in other alternative fuels; outsource vehicle maintenance and repair as part of a leasing agreement; and acquire alternative delivery vehicles for letter and small parcel distribution in urban areas.

The USPS in contrast planned to buy vehicles over a 12-year period. It primarily relies on in-house maintenance facilities. The USPS has no plans to add trikes or e-bikes. The U.S. Postal Innovation Act, introduced in late July, has called on the USPS to take a "greener" approach to its fleet replacement initiative and install collision-avoidance technology, among other practices.

In May, a separate OIG report found that the USPS could reduce its maintenance costs by $21.8 million annually by improving oversight of mechanics and right-sizing staffing at vehicle garages.

Read the full report here.