GSA administrator Martha Johnson speaks May 24 during a press conference to announce steps toward moving the federal fleet further towards advanced vehicles and decreased petroleum consumption. (Chris Maddaloni / Staff)
President Obama has ordered agencies to cut fuel use by buying more alternative-fuel vehicles and, in some cases, reduce the size of their fleets.
Obama issued the memo Tuesday as the General Services Administration announced plans to spend $4.3 million to purchase 116 electric vehicles. GSA will rent the cars —101 Chevrolet Volts, 10 Nissan Leafs and five Think City EVs — to 20 federal agencies in five cities across the country. Charging stations to power the cars will be installed in those cities — Washington, San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Detroit.
The new electric cars will save a total of $116,000 annually in fuel costs, according to GSA administrator Martha Johnson.
The federal fleet has more than 662,000 cars, according to data released by GSA in March. About 10,759 are hybrid vehicles, while 158,300 run on a mixture of gasoline and ethanol.
In his memo, Obama ordered all fleet purchases starting in 2015 to be alternative-fuel vehicles. The goal is part of a plan to cut oil imports by one-third over 10 years and make the federal government a leader in developing alternative energy. He also called on agencies to publicly list within six months vehicles they possess that are larger than a midsize sedan or do not meet alternative.
Agencies have nine months to set targets for their optimum fleet size and to post those online. Law enforcement vehicles are exempt from the requirements.
The memo directs GSA to work with agencies to help issue guidance for alternative fuel vehicles for law enforcement.