Letter to the editor: Driving to post office is a massive waste of gasoline | SummitDaily.com
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Letter to the editor: Driving to post office is a massive waste of gasoline

Dan Wall
Silverthorne

Can you guess how much gas is burned in a year’s time by Summit County residents picking up mail at the post office?

My estimate is about 443,000 gallons — enough to fuel seven Boeing 747s. According to Boeing’s website a 747 holds 63,500 gallons.

This is wonky, but I think the estimate is in the ballpark. Here are some stats from the U.S. Census Bureau in 2019:



  • Households in Summit County: 10,641
  • Average travel time to work: 16 minutes (proxy for travel to post office)

Here’s my math:

  • Sixteen minutes at 30 mph would be 8 miles, so the round-trip distance would be 16 miles.
  • Three trips to the post office per week would be 48 miles.
  • Estimate one-third of households (3,547) use the post office regularly, so multiply 3,547 by 48 to get 170,256 miles traveled per week.
  • Divide that by 20 miles per gallon (assumed mileage due to large vehicles).
  • Answer is 8,513 gallons per week times 52 week. That equals 442,676 gallons per year.

Do you think the U.S. Postal Service might use less than 443,000 gallons of fuel per year by delivering mail to every home in Summit County?



In 1902, Congress required the Post Office to deliver mail to rural residents’ homes, some 60% of America at the time, which made them equal to city dwellers for mail delivery. They called it rural free delivery.

One year later, the Wright brothers flew their first airplane.

Rural free delivery works really well. Just ask your great-grandfather.


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