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Gas Prices Affecting Mail

June 20, 2008, 8:41 PM by Erica Johnson

Gas Prices Affecting Mail
The price at the pump isn't getting any cheaper. A new record high of $4 a gallon this week in South Dakota has left those who depend on driving finding creative ways to save.

Delivering anything from packages to postcard, the postal service is finding it hard to deal with the rising price at the pumps. 

U.S. Post Office officials say that a one cent increase in gas adds up to $8 million in annual expenses, and this year post offices across the nation are expected to spend more than $2 billion on fuel.  That's forcing local carriers to come up with ways to save even a few cents. 

"Last year we got these E-85 vans in. I think there are probably 5 or 6 for the area here and took away the LLV's. Dollar less at the gas pumps everytime you fill up per gallon so starts adding up," Jordan Huyser, a postal carrier says.

And that's not the only way the postal service is dealing with the high prices. 

Many of the driving routes in the city put on 25 to 35 miles per day.  That's around $8 in gas for just one route. So now, they're shifting into park when possible. 

But Jordan Huyser says he doesn't mind.  He's walked most of his route for the last nine years. 

"Walk loops, usually 2 to 3 loops and then drive to the next part and start again." Huyser says.

The post office is also working to combine routes and find the most economic way to cover all areas all while driving less. 

Huyser says, "On lighter days pick up, carry a little more if you can, stuff like that."

Filling those trucks to the brim when possible in an effort to save a few cents, that can add up quickly.

Officials of USPS say they want to work on efficiency rather than raise the rate of postage. They fear another increase in stamps this year will cut down on the volume of mail.

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