Today the Obama administration moved the federal government closer to its goal of cutting petroleum consumption 30% by 2020 and putting 1 million advanced vehicles on the road by 2015.
President Obama issued a Presidential Memorandum ordering federal agencies to develop guidelines for 100% purchasing of alternative fueled passenger vehicles and light-duty trucks by 2015.
The memorandum instructs agencies to develop and implement a methodology to determine their optimal fleet size and provide recommendations for alternative fuel vehicle acquisition. It also requires they have a plan in place to achieve the President’s target by 2015.
In conjunction with the memorandum, the General Services Administration (GSA) announced the launch of an electric vehicles (EV) pilot program to incorporate electric vehicles into the federal fleet.
The pilot will begin with GSA’s purchase of 100 EVs from Chevrolet, Nissan, and Think City vehicles.
The vehicles will be leased to 20 agencies, including the Department of Energy, and will be located in Washington, DC; Detroit, MI; Los Angeles, CA; San Diego, CA; and San Francisco, CA.
GSA conducted an open, competitive process requesting bids from vendors who could offer electric vehicles that meet Federal Vehicle Standards and comply with applicable statutory and regulatory requirements.
Offers were evaluated based on: technical capability, management capability, past performance, and price. As the pilot progresses, other companies may bid to become eligible for future purchases.
As the pilot progresses, other companies may bid to become eligible for future purchases, GSA said.
As manager of federal fleets and buildings, GSA will coordinate with these agencies to establish necessary infrastructure for fueling and recharging at federal building locations that receive the first round of vehicles.
The House of Representatives Sustainable Energy & Environment Coalition (SEEC) says, “As the operator of the nation’s largest vehicle fleet, the federal government’s purchasing power can drive the widespread adoption of these vehicles, which will reduce America’s oil addiction and fuel costs, and decrease greenhouse gas and other air pollution, all the while growing American green jobsand our economy by increasing domestic production of the vehicles of the twenty-first century.
“Just as importantly, the Electric Vehicle Pilot Program and related efforts will save Americans money in two different ways: By reducing the federal government’s fuel costs – a direct saving for taxpayers that promises to grow with the success of this program; and by reducing America’s oil demand, which is one of the chief drivers of climbing gasoline prices. SEEC commends the Obama Administration for its continued work to break the oil addiction that is so costly to Americans and jeopardizes our national security.”
Waiting for New Window Stickers
Last year, the EPA and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration proposed new labels to help people compare cars in terms of gas mileage and emissions.
The new labels are due out next week, but it looks like the results will be disappointing because of lobbying from the auto industry.
The labels were supposed to give vehicles letter grades, from A to D, clearly conveying the vehicle’s fuel efficiency and environmental performance. The label would have graded all vehicle types, so that even the most fuel-efficient heavy-duty trucks would receive grades lower than smaller cars.
The auto industry claimed the labels – gradeschool notions of passing and failing – were out of line.
Another label would allow people to compare mpg and pollution across all vehicles in that class for that model year. It would also estimate vehicle operating costs – a useful piece of information, when gas prices are a major concern. And it addresses–though not prominently–important environmental impacts, including carbon dioxide and smog pollution.
Neither label accurately portrays emissions associated with elecric vehicles. Although they don’t have tail-pipe emissions, they rely on electricity that could be generated by dirty, coal-fired power plants or a clean wind farm.
After the Administration announces the label decision this week it will turn its attention to setting fuel economy standards for the 2017-2025 timeframe.
At the top of the proposed range is a 60 mpg standard by 2025, which would save Americans $101 billion per year, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists.
Let’s hope that the Administration holds the line on that ambitious target.