Fuel prices hike some postal delivery costs
April 20, 2011
By DEBRA MITCHELL
The first U.S. Postal Service mailing services price change in two years will have minimal impact on retail customers who will continue to pay only 44 cents for a stamp. However, some new prices took effect on April 17.
According to the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006, mailing services prices can increase no more than the rate of inflation as measured by the Consumer Price Index.
Price changes of note for retail customers include the following:
• First-Class Mail letters (1 oz.) remain unchanged at 44 cents,
• First-Class Mail additional ounces increase to 20 cents,
• Postcard postage increases to 29 cents,
• Stamped postcards will increase to 32 cents,
• Letters to Canada or Mexico (1 oz.) increase to 80 cents, and
• Letters to other international destinations will remain unchanged at 98 cents.
Forever stamps don’t have a denomination and are honored whenever they are used.
The current price of the Forever stamp is 44 cents. All new First-Class Mail commemorative stamps to be issued will be Forever stamps.
The Postal Service is aggressive about cutting its costs responsibly. Like many other businesses, the Postal Service cannot fully make up for the increase in its expenses by cutting costs. Many costs are influenced by outside factors such as transportation and economic conditions. For each of the past several years, the Postal Service has taken more than a billion dollars in costs out of the postal system.
As regional tensions and political uncertainty in Northern Africa and the Middle East continue to increase, so too do crude oil prices and the cost of gasoline. The nationwide average for a gallon of gasoline continues to rise.
Many Americans are able to modify their driving habits; this is not so for the Postal Service.
USPS each day is committed to serving more than 150 million delivery points, along more than 230,000 routes, six days a week. To collect, transport and dispatch the mail, the USPS fleet of more than 215,000 owned vehicles logs some four million miles per day.
In fiscal year 2010, the USPS fuel bill for all transportation - street, highway and air - totaled $1.7 billion, for 650 million gallons of fuel.
For more information about purchasing stamps, stamps by mail, postal regulations, a free subscription to USA Philatelic magazine, Post Office events, the location of the nearest postal store or contract unit, or for answers to your specific Postal Service questions, contact USPS at 1-800-275-8777, or visit www.usps.com.
Mitchell is employed by the U.S. Postal Service.