USA DIARY———————————————————— SUDHIR JAIN
In America, postal services are provided by the United States Postal Service (USPS) which is an independent agency of the US Government.More than 2,18,000 vehicles are used by the USPS for providing efficient postal services around the country. If USPS were a civilian
company, it would be the operator of the largest vehicle fleet in the world. Majority of the USPS vehicles are easily identified as Chevrolet/ Grumman LLV (Long-Life Vehicle) and the newer Ford /Utilimaster FFV (Flex-Fuel Vehicle). Once in an interview, a USPS
official stated that for every penny increase in the national average price of gasoline, the USPS spends an extra $8 million to fuel its fleet.These Postal vehicles are different with the other vehicles of USA because of the following reasons –
1. In America most of the vehicles are left hand drive and vehicles go on the right side of the roads. But these Postal vehicles are right had drive so because an arrangement intended to give drivers the easiest access to roadside mailboxes which are on the right side of the road.
2. These Postal vehicles do not have registration number plates or license plates. These vehicles are identified by a seven digit number displayed on the front and rear.The Jeep Dispatcher was the first Jeep vehicle built for the U.S. Postal service. It was built from 1955-64 and was equipped with a flat four engine to cut costs. The second mail Jeep Dispatcher model was produced from 1965-83, which endured as a popular vehicle with
improvements in power, axles, transmission and seating comfort. Prior to the 2003 Jeep Wrangler right-hand-drive announcement, the last Jeep to be sold in the postal segment was the 2001 Jeep Cherokee, which is now discontinued. The 2003 model Wrangler Postal Unit was a hard top with full metal doors and roll up windows to keep the mail secured,
while the interior has a rear removable seat which creates ample space for bulk mail and packages.
In the 21st century, demands on postal vehicles remain great. A new set of challenges faces the postal service. Vehicles must not only be able to help carriers improve delivery service, but must also help the Postal Service lower their reliance on fossil fuels. The latest postal delivery vehicle is the Flexible Fuel Vehicle (FFV) manufactured by
Ford Motor Company, which has recently delivered 21,239 right-hand drive FFVs to the postal service. These can be operated on 85% ethanol fuel, gas, or any combination of the two fuels in the same tank. I had taken photographs of some of the US Postal vehicles during my recent US visit which are exhibited here.