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The United States Postal Service (USPS) is an independent agency of the United States government responsible for providing postal service in the United States.

Within the United States, it is commonly referred to as the Post Office, Postal Service, or U.S. Mail.

The United States Postal Service employs over 760,000 workers, making it the third-largest employer in the United States, after the United States Department of Defense and Wal-Mart. Its employees deliver mail at an average yearly cost of $235 per residence as of 2009.

The USPS operates the largest civilian vehicle fleet in the world, with an estimated 260,000 vehicles, the majority of which are the easily identified Chevrolet/Grumman LLV (Long-Life Vehicle), and the newer Ford/Utilimaster FFV (Flex-Fuel Vehicle), originally also referred to as the "CRV" (Carrier Route Vehicle), as shown in the pictures below. In an interview on NPR, 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. This implies that the fleet requires some 800 million gallons (3.03 billion liters) of fuel per year, and consumes an estimated fuel budget of $2.4 billion, were the national gasoline price to average $3.00. Some Rural Letter Carriers use personal vehicles. Standard postal-owned vehicles do not have license plates. These vehicles are identified by a seven digit number displayed on the front and rear.

Competition from e-mail and private operations such as United Parcel Service and FedEx has forced USPS to adjust its business strategy and to modernize its products and services. First Class mail volume (which is protected by legal monopoly) has declined 22% from 1998 to 2007, due to the increasing use of e-mail and the World Wide Web for correspondence and business transactions. In 2008, a general economic slowdown also affected mail volumes, especially advertising. Lower volume means lower revenues to support the fixed commitment to deliver to every address once a day, six days a week. In response, the USPS has increased productivity each year from 2000 to 2007, through increased automation, route re-optimization, and facility consolidation.

The domain usps.com attracted at least 159 million visitors annually by 2008 according to a Compete.com survey.

The Department of Defense and the USPS jointly operate a postal system to deliver mail for the military; this is known as the Army Post Office (for Army and Air Force postal facilities) and Fleet Post Office (for Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard postal facilities).
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review by . November 09, 2011
Probably the worst thing for the USPS is that it's controlled by Congress, giving them no power to determine their own fate or profitability. In a classic example of how the Federal Government can screw up almost anything without trying too hard, the USPS has an annual deficit of a small country, employs some ungodly number of people, all the time looking quaintly ridiculous in the face of technology.      If USPS were a company, they would have determined that their financial …
review by . February 26, 2011
posted in Public Policy
The time has come to privatize the USPS
I take no great joy in this but in my view the time has come to completely privatize the United States Postal Service.  Despite numerous rate increases over the past several years the USPS continues to drown in a sea of red ink.  In fact, the USPS projects a deficit of nearly $7 billion for the current fiscal year!  It is a luxury that this country can no longer afford.      Despite improvements in productivity and some major reorganization the …
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