By STEVEN CALHOUN/Staff Writer
The United States Postal Service has implemented cost increases for many of its mail and shipping services.
USPS implemented a 2-cent increase in the cost of stamps for 1 oz. letters on Jan. 22. The cost of flat-rate boxes and envelopes also increased.
These changes affect the cost of First-Class Mail Forever stamps and domestic flat-rate shipping and mailing.
The recent changes resulted in an average price increase of 3.9 percent for shipping services, with retail prices increasing an average of 3.3 percent, according to a press release.
Forever stamps, as the name implies, will always be sufficient to send a 1 oz. letter, no matter when the stamps were bought. The price increase will not make Forever stamps purchased at an earlier date invalid, but will affect the cost of buying new ones.
According to a USPS press release, in October 2016 USPS filed for the price increases with the Postal Regulatory Commission, an independent regulatory organization established in 1970 by the Postal Reorganization Act.
Stamps were at their current cost of 49-cents before the PRC forced USPS to reduce prices as part of surcharge removal in April 2016, according to the press release.
The price change reflects the goal of USPS to maintain a pricing model consistent with the rate of inflation as measured by the Consumer Price Index. USPS receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.