Obama Administration To Add 10,000 Hybrids To Government Fleet

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President Barack Obama may not achieve his goal of 1 million plug-in electric cars on U.S. roads by the end of 2015.

But his administration continues to try to green the U.S. vehicle fleet.

The latest salvo: The government's General Services Agency plans to add an additional 10,000 hybrid vehicles to its fleet of roughly 200,000 cars and trucks.

Currently, the GSA operates roughly 10,700 hybrids, or slightly over 5 percent of its fleet. It purchased 919 last year.

Participation in the program by the many different U.S. agencies that lease their vehicles from the GSA is voluntary.

The agencies are being encouraged to choose hybrid vehicles through a GSA program that makes up the cost difference between the price of a hybrid and the price of a comparable non-hybrid vehicle.

The first agency to take part will be the Interior Department, which plans to replace 300 older vehicles of various kinds with new hybrids.

"At a time when government needs to make every tax dollar count, GSA is committed to creating more energy efficiency and cost-saving opportunities like the fleet consolidation program," said Dan Tangherlini, the GSA's acting administrator.

Such programs, he continued, "make government smarter and reduce our environmental footprint."

Each hybrid saves approximately 100 gallons of fuel a year, on average. If the GSA reaches its goal of adding 10,000 more hybrids, that will bring the total annual savings to 1 million gallons.

U.S. agencies are generally required to purchase vehicles assembled in the U.S.

You can expect at least some of those new hybrids to be the Ford C-Max Hybrid model--assembled in Wayne, Michigan.

In the future, Fusion Hybrid sedans will likely join the fleet as well, once a second assembly plant in Flat Rock, Michigan, adds Fusion production. Currently, all Fusions are built at a Ford plant in Mexico.

The new GSA program was reported yesterday in The Detroit News and elsewhere.


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Comments (6)
  1. This seems like a strange system. The GSA makes up the difference in price between the hybrid and the non-hybrid. If it is a decent hybrid, this difference should be made up by the fuel savings. So why can "whatever" government agency decide on its own to buy hybrids without the GSA incentives?

  2. My guess (without knowing any facts) is that those who are responsible for purchasing/leasing the vehicles probably aren't responsible for the post-purchase costs. Maybe in some cases the purchasers had the foresight to see that hybrids save money in the long run. Otherwise, if the purchase price is lower, buy that instead of seeing how each compares in the long run.

  3. Ford is going to make a "killing" on this. As far as I know. Ford is the only domestic makers with some "real" hybrids that is capable. Unless, of course the government is willing to purchase foreign made hybrids with profits going to the foreign country.

    Would the Leaf qualify for the US government purchase since it is being "built" in the US now?

  4. @Xiaolong: I believe the Leaf qualifies as a domestic vehicle, since its battery cells, electric motor, and the vehicle itself are all made in Tennessee. That said, U.S. government vehicles tend to be U.S. brands (Chevy, Ford, Dodge, etc.)--and I don't know what the rules may be about buying from U.S.-owned companies.

  5. Can't wait for the Via Motors line of GM Voltec technology trucks to come out. Every major Federal, State & municipal government departments should equip their fleets with them. Start savings at the top and lead by example.

  6. It's interesting that fleet buying at this moment will lean electric/hybrid, by default, over natural gas because the infrastructure is not there yet for nat gas. For cars, anyway. However, the story did mention the Interior dept. Light duty trucks maybe?

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