Postal-Owned Transportation

The postal-owned fleet is predominantly used for the transportation and delivery of mail. Postal vehicles are also used for law enforcement, maintenance support, mobile Post Offices, and other functions. During 2010, the active postal fleet was reduced by 3,059 vehicles. In addition, more than 3,000 vehicles were redeployed to rural delivery routes to replace higher cost rural Equipment Maintenance Allowance vehicles.


Postal Vehicle Inventory

Vehicle Type


Delivery and collection (1/2–2 ton)


Mail transport (tractors and trailers)


Mail transport (3–11 ton)


Administrative and other


Service (maintenance)


Inspection Service and law enforcement




image of a postal service alternative fuel vehicle

The Postal Service has the world’s largest fleet of alternative-fuel vehicles.

The Postal Service continues to explore various alternative fuel technologies. Multiple vehicle prototypes are being tested to reduce petroleum fuel and increase the use of alternative fuels by 10 percent. Testing includes ethanol, all-electric, gas/electric hybrids, hydrogen, compressed natural gas and propane, and three-wheel electric vehicles. In December 2009, the Postal Service awarded contracts to five companies to evaluate the feasibility of converting existing long life vehicles to battery power. Each company developed its own prototype, which will be put into service for a one-year test period. These vehicles will be deployed to five offices in the Washington, DC, area in early 2011. They will be evaluated for operational performance, operating cost, and fuel economy.


Mail transport equipment (MTE) is the term given to sacks, trays, pallets, and wheeled containers that contain mail as it moves within or between facilities. Multiple efforts are underway to improve MTE performance and durability while reducing costs and negative environmental impacts. Efforts to recover MTE improperly used outside the postal network have been ongoing to reduce replacement costs. Customers are encouraged to contact (866) 330-3404 or to return equipment to local Post Offices and plants. The effort resulted in the recovery of $180,000 worth of equipment this year.

The Mail Transport Equipment Service Center (MTESC) is an integrated network of facilities that manage MTE inventory, oversee repairs, and distribute equipment to internal and external customers. The MTESC processes over 268,000 orders annually, serving 1,200 postal facilities and large-volume mailers. As part of a network redesign, 8 of 23 centers closed this year for an estimated annual savings of $75 million. The changes are part of a larger effort to enhance efficiency in MTE management.