The cost of mailing a letter is about to decrease for the first time in nearly 100 years.
The U.S. Postal Service announced this week that several rate reductions will take effect on Sunday, April 10.
The current cost of mailing a letter, 49 cents per ounce, will fall to 47 cents per ounce.
Other rates will also fall:
- Letters weighing more than 1 ounce: 21 cents per additional ounce (down from 22 cents)
- Letters to all international destinations: $1.15 (down from $1.20)
- Postcards: 34 cents (down from 35 cents)
Commercial rates will also decrease.
While this sounds like good news for consumers, the Postal Service says these reductions will cost the independent agency of the federal government $2 billion per year in revenue.
The Postal Service’s operations are funded by the sale of postage, products and services, according to a news release. The agency does not receive tax dollars for operating expenses.
The reductions, which the press release calls “forced,” mark the end of a temporary surcharge that was granted to help the Postal Service recover financial losses in the wake of the Great Recession. The surcharge started in January 2014 and was due to expire after it generated $4.6 billion in revenue for the Postal Service.
The agency is continuing to seek congressional action to reinstate the surcharge and make it permanent, however.
Megan J. Brennan, postmaster general and chief executive, says in the release:
“To properly compete for customers and continue to meet America’s evolving mailing and shipping needs, the Postal Service needs the financial capability to invest in the future. We continue to seek legislative reforms to put the Postal Service back on a sustainable financial path, and pricing is an important component.”
The last time the postage rate for a 1-ounce letter decreased was on July 1, 1919, when the rate fell from 3 cents to 2 cents, according to Postal Service historical data.
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