WASHINGTON (AP) - It's time to stock up on Forever stamps.
The cost of mailing a letter will go up a penny - to 42 cents - on May 12.
But the Forever stamps will still be valid for first-class postage after that. And they can be bought for 41 cents until the new rates take place, postal officials said.
The post office has sold 5 billion Forever stamps since they were introduced last April and it plans to have an additional 5 billion in stock to meet the expected demand before the May price change, the agency said.
The charge for other services, such as advertising mail, periodicals, packages and special services also will change. Changes in the price for Priority Mail and Express Mail will be announced later, the agency said.
Postage rates last went up in May 2007, with a first-class stamp jumping 2 cents to the current 41-cent rate.
In the past, raising postage rates was a long, complex process involving hearings before the independent Postal Regulatory Commission, a process that could take nearly a year.
But under the new law regulating the post office that took effect in late 2006, the agency can increase rates with 45 days’ notice as long as changes are within the rate of inflation for the previous 12 months. The Postal Regulatory Commission calculated that rate at 2.9 percent through January, limiting the first-class rate to an increase of just over a penny.
Under the new law, postal prices will be adjusted each May, the Postal Service said. Officials said they plan to give 90 days notice of future changes, twice what is required by law.
While the charge for the first ounce of a first-class letter rises to 42 cents, the price of each added ounce will remain 17 cents, so a two-ounce letter will go up a penny to 59 cents.
The cost to mail a post card will also go up a penny, to 27 cents.
Other increases set for May 12:
- Large envelope, 2 ounces, $1, up 3 cents.
- Money Orders up to $500, $1.05, unchanged.
- Certified mail, $2.70, up 5 cents.
- First-class international letter to Canada or Mexico, 72 cents, up 3 cents.
- First-class international letter to other countries, 94 cents, up 4 cents.
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