WASHINGTON - The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) has a goal to cut petroleum usage by 2 percent annually through 2015, according to the Federal Times.

Accounting for the overall increase in fuel use since 2005, managers going forward must achieve a 4.5-percent annual reduction in petroleum consumption to meet the 2015 goal, said Sam Pulcrano, USPS vice president for sustainability.

To tackle the increase in fuel use, the Postal Service is attempting to consolidate routes so it needs fewer vehicles to deliver the mail. Ten thousand routes were cut this year, which took about 7,000 vehicles off the road. USPS has set a 2010 target to take another 5,000 vehicles out of commission.

Additionally, the Postal Service has included reducing fuel consumption as a performance goal for managers. Those who don't meet the annual goal receive smaller pay raises, while those who exceed the goal are rewarded with higher increases, Pulcrano said.

The Postal Service has purchased more than 11,000 vehicles since 2005 that run on a mix of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline and, where possible, has put those vehicles in locations where E-85 fuel is available, Pulcrano said.

In addition, the Postal Service received 6,555 fuel-efficient vehicles through the Recovery Act. Those vehicles include hybrid, E-85 and high-mileage petroleum vehicles and will help the Postal Service continue to increase its alternative fuel consumption, reported the Times.