STEVE INSKEEP, host:

Here in the United States, the price of postage is going up again.

Starting in May, a letter that now costs 39 cents to mail will likely cost 41 cents. But if it's any consolation, consumers may soon be able to buy a stamp that will never go up in price. It's called the Forever Stamp.

As NPR's Wendy Kaufman reports.

WENDY KAUFMAN: Thirty countries, including England, already use a variation of the Forever Stamp. And now, U.S. Postal Service regulators have endorsed the idea. The new stamp would cost exactly the same price as a regular first-class stamp. Government officials say the stamp would be cost effective for the Postal Service and more convenient for consumers.

Ms. LINDA POTTS(ph): It sounds like a good idea to me.

KAUFMAN: Linda Potts was in a Seattle post office buying stamps.

Ms. POTTS: I don't buy a whole lot at a time just because I know the rate's going up.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Ms. POTTS: And I don't want to have to buy the two-centers. I don't like having to, you know, make a special trip in to get them and knowing how they need to buy and all of that.

KAUFMAN: The new stamp, which would cover first-class postage indefinitely, would mean no more pesky little 2 and $.03 stamps that have to be added to an envelope when rates change but you still have old stamps. What's more, it turns out the new stamp could actually save the Postal Service money, or at least be revenue neutral. Ruth Goldway is a member of the Postal Rate Commission that's endorsing the plan.

Ms. RUTH GOLDWAY (Member, Postal Rate Commission): The cost to the postal service of selling you a roll of $.02 stamps for a dollar or a two is so much greater than the roll of stamps you're buying that it costs the Postal Service money.

KAUFMAN: Postal regulators aren't worried about hoarding of the new stamps. Market research done by the Postal Service last year suggested that consumers would not buy more stamps than they ordinarily would. A final decision on whether to adopt the new stamp is expected shortly. The stamp has already been designed and is slated to be unveiled in early March.

Wendy Kaufman, NPR News.

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