Starting Jan. 27, 2013, the U.S. Postal Service will institute slight price increases and introduce a range of new shipping services as it whistles past the graveyard of its own insolvency.
First-Class Mail single-piece letters (1 oz.) will go up a penny to 46 cents with a new Forever stamp. Additional ounces for letters remains 20 cents each; postcards inch up a penny to 33 cents.
One of the biggest changes next year will be the introduction of a First-Class Mail Global Forever stamp, which will whisk your letter to any destination in the world for a flat rate of $1.10.
On the shipping end, free tracking will be offered on retail Priority Mail and Standard Post (formerly Parcel Post). Critical Mail letters and flats will now be able to receive a signature on delivery as part of the service.
New Priority Mail Flat Rate items now run:
- Small box: $5.80
- Medium box: $12.35
- Large box: $16.85
- Large APO/FPO box: $14.85
- Regular envelope: $5.60
- Legal envelope: $5.75
- Padded envelope: $5.95.
All of these prices will have to be reviewed by the Postal Regulatory Commission prior to their implementation. Yet, after the Postal Service announced in September that it will default on a $5.6 billion payment to the Treasury Department – its second recent default in two months – one wonders what difference an additional penny here or there can really make.