USPS Seeks Price Increases

The United States Postal Service (USPS) announced price changes, including an increase in the price of Forever Stamps, that will go into effect on January 22, 2017 if approved by the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC). The changes filed with the PRC include a two-cent increase on the cost of a First-Class Mail Forever stamp, bringing the price per piece to 49 cents.

This was the previous cost of Forever stamps before the PRC forced the USPS in April to reduce prices as part of the removal of a 4.3% exigent surcharge. The surcharge was requested by USPS last year and granted by the PRC after the Postal Service cited “extreme multi-year revenue declines resulting from the Great Recession,” according to a press release earlier this year. But once the USPS approached $4.6 billion in collected surcharges, the PRC ordered the surcharge be reversed, which brought the cost of Forever stamps down to 47 cents. It was the first time in 97 years that the USPS had reduced rates.

The proposed price increases are as follows:




Small flat-rate box                                         



Medium flat-rate box                                     



Large flat-rate box                                         



Large APO/FPO flat-rate box                        



Regular flat-rate envelope                              



Legal flat-rate envelope                                  



Padded flat-rate envelope                              




The proposed changes do not affect the cost of postcards, which will remain at 34 cents; letters mailed internationally, at $1.15; and additional ounces for first-class letters, at 21 cents. If approved, the price increase for Priority Mail will be 3.9% and an average of 3.3% for Priority Mail Retail. The PRC will review the changes before they’re scheduled to take effect in January.

“The Postal Service seems to be doing the best job in years of communicating a price change in advance,” Stephen Kearney, executive director of the Alliance of Nonprofit Mailers, told Linn’s Stamp News last week. “[It] needs nothing more right now than customers and volume. Rate shock can send away customers and volume that might otherwise stay in the mail.”

The Oct. 12 USPS filing with the PRC does not affect Postal Service Shipping products and services. USPS receives no tax dollars for to fund its operations, relying instead on the sale of postage, products and services.