USPS trucks don’t have air bags or air conditioning. They get 10 mpg. And they were revolutionary.

When Philip Rubio saw his new mail truck, the first thing he noticed was the missing rearview mirror. The Grumman “Long Life Vehicle” — the U.S. Postal Service’s now-ubiquitous delivery van, which first hit the streets in 1987 — didn’t have a back window. It didn’t have an air bag. It didn’t have air conditioning. The heating system was unreliable. But shoot, if it didn’t look good.

“Everybody has their own LLV story,” said Rubio, a retired letter carrier and a professor of history at North Carolina A&T State University. “I think it was a morale booster for letter carriers to see a new vehicle, to see a fleet, and to see something that looked good on the street.”

The Postal Service is preparing to spend as much as $6 billion to retire those trucks starting in 2023. The fleet replacement is long overdue: LLVs have far exceeded their projected 24-year life spans and now have a reputation of catching fire after hundreds of thousands of miles of overuse. They are loathed by many postal workers, who say they broil during the summer and shiver in the winter when the heating system is inadequate. And they get only 10 miles to the gallon.


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The exhaust is right under driver seat and burns my feet melts my shoes I keep thermometer on floor it runs about 120 degrees