Washington Each penny increase in the price of gasoline costs the Postal Service $8 million, and that will drive mailing costs higher, the postmaster general said Friday in an interview with The Associated Press.
The agency expects to need a rate increase in 2007, said Postmaster General John Potter. That would come just a year after a 2-cent rate jump forced by a law requiring a big increase in an escrow account.
The 2007 increase will be needed to cover higher expenses in the past five years, including employee raises, increases in the price of fuel for trucks, heat for buildings, electricity, transportation and other costs.
"Our costs are going up just like everybody else's costs," Potter said. The amount of the postage increase will depend on the economy, the cost of gasoline and other factors.
"The postal service last raised rates in July 2002," said Potter. "The only reason that we're raising rates 5.4 percent (in 2006) is to create sufficient funds to pay the $3.1 billion that's required in the law." The January increase would raise the price of a first class stamp to 39 cents.
Unless changed by Congress, the escrow requirement would increase in subsequent years, he said.