So, a switch to hybrids – or even better still, plug-in vehicles – could save the USPS millions. While likely true, the U.S. Postal Service is no stranger to plug-ins. In fact, the Postal Service has been plugging in for more than 100 years and it all started back in July 1899 in the New York city of Buffalo when an electric carriage replaced a far slower horse-drawn wagon and doubled the speed of mail collection. Adding more plug-in vehicles to the fleet won't make mail arrive twice as fast, but it could save the government a lot of money. Given some calls to shut the USPS down or limit service, saving money could do something more impressive: keep the mail moving at all.The USPS currently operates the largest civilian vehicle fleet in the world, with an estimated 218,684 vehicles. In 2009, these vehicles used an average of 444 million gallons of fuel, at a cost of $1.1 billion. Every penny increase in the average cost of gas costs the USPS an extra $8 million, according to a USPS official. The good news: In 2009, the USPS got 6,500 hybrid cars. That leaves only 212,184 to go!
*Franklin was the USPS' first-ever Postmaster General.