As part of a 10-year plan to increase sustainability at the federal level, President Barack Obama is calling for more plug-in and zero emission vehicles in government fleets.
Under the Executive Order, which was signed last week, Obama said zero emission vehicles (ZEVs) and plug-in hybrid (PHEVs) must make up at least 20-percent of federal fleets by the end of 2020. By December 31, 2025, half of fleet vehicles must be ZEVs or PHEVs.
Infrastructure planning to support these vehicles, including charging and refueling stations, is also called for in the decree.
The ratio of alternatively fueled vehicles in all government fleets is currently far below this, according to the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers (Auto Alliance). The organization represents automakers such as General Motors, Ford and Toyota.
The Auto Alliance estimated that only 3.9-percent of 2013 government fleet purchases were hybrid or electric vehicles. Last year, this percentage rose slightly.
“Government purchases of alternative powertrain vehicles still comprise only a small fraction of their overall automotive acquisitions, based on data from the first 10 months of 2014,” stated that Auto Alliance.
“Federal, state and local government entities registered 175,122 new vehicles, of which 512 were electric cars – or less than one-third of 1-percent.
“Hybrids represented-4 percent (7,048) of new government vehicles.”
For the overall federal fleet, the Executive Order doesn’t call for a specific type of ZEV (such as fuel cell or battery electric) and doesn’t detail a ratio of zero emission to plug-in vehicles.
By 2025, Obama said federal agencies must also cut their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 30-percent from 2014 levels.
“White House senior adviser Brian Deese estimated the new measures will save $18 billion,” reported The Washington Post. “The federal government has already cut its overall emissions 17-percent since Obama took office, saving $1.8 billion.”
In conjunction with the release of Obama’s sustainability goals, some of the federal government’s largest suppliers met at a roundtable to discuss their part in reducing greenhouse gases.
“The companies attending this roundtable each do more than $1 billion a year in business with the U.S. Government and together account for about $45 billion in federal contract spending,” said a White House press release.
“Combined, they bring a total GHG reduction commitment of 5 million metric tons between 2008 and 2020.”
IBM, GE, Honeywell and Northrop Grumman are a few of the companies that attended the roundtable, with each lining out specific commitments to reduce their output of GHG.
Other sustainability requirements laid out in the Executive Order include mandates for federal government buildings to reduce energy, reduce water and employ clean energy sources.
Photo credit: JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images