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The GSA plans to replace aging vehicle fleet with hybrids

The United States General Services Administration (GSA) has announced a new Fleet consolidation initiative. The goal of this initiative is to replace a huge number of the federal government's existing vehicle fleet with new and more fuel-efficient hybrid vehicles. Up to 10,000 new hybrid vehicles would be purchased under this initiative.

The GSA says that it can reduce fuel consumption per year for the life of these vehicles by 1,000,000 gallons and that there will be significant savings earned through improved fuel efficiency.


2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid

“Providing a hybrid federal fleet is an essential part of GSA’s commitment to making government agencies as efficient and effective as possible,” said GSA Acting Administrator Dan Tangherlini. “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 that make government smarter and reduce our environmental footprint.”

The initiative allows federal agencies to choose whether or not to participate in the program. If the agency chooses to participate, the GSA will fund the total incremental cost to replace eligible consolidated vehicles with new hybrid vehicles. Federal agencies that consolidate their fleets with GSA Fleet will also receive fleet management services including vehicle acquisition and disposal, maintenance control, and accident management.
 
However, the GSA does charge a monthly rate for the services.

Source: GSA



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Mr. Sequester, Meet Mr. Green
By DaveLessnau on 4/25/2013 10:50:00 AM , Rating: 2
I don't know. I suppose these cars will be driven heavily and, thus, might actually make up their additional cost over the decades with fuel savings. But, I just wonder how they're working the initial cost premiums into the current budgets.




RE: Mr. Sequester, Meet Mr. Green
By StevoLincolnite on 4/25/2013 11:36:52 AM , Rating: 1
Do you really think they will hang onto it for decades?
Hell. I don't think I have seen a "Government Car" in Australia that's more than 5 years old.
If they don't keep the vehicles for a long time, then there probably won't be any cost savings and hence it's the taxpayer, aka. The people that ultimately pays for this scheme.


RE: Mr. Sequester, Meet Mr. Green
By Mint on 4/25/2013 11:55:23 AM , Rating: 2
Hybrids have proven lifetime savings, and plugins should be even better but haven't been on the road long enough to be proven.

Even if they cars are sold on the used market after 5 years, people will buy those used cars and reap fuel savings. It's a net societal win overall, particularly since the gov't doesn't have to go through middlemen that add 2%+ to the interest rate for the cost of capital to build more efficient vehicles.

They really should have been buying hybrids for fleet vehicles since day one.


RE: Mr. Sequester, Meet Mr. Green
By ebakke on 4/25/13, Rating: -1
RE: Mr. Sequester, Meet Mr. Green
By Manch on 4/25/2013 2:14:51 PM , Rating: 2
They could just hang onto their vehicles that are already paid off for even longer, but no. They'll waste our money if not on this, then something else.


RE: Mr. Sequester, Meet Mr. Green
By Mint on 4/25/2013 8:41:01 PM , Rating: 2
What opportunity cost?

There's $2T in excess reserves because people are saving more than ever and banks have a dearth of safe lending opportunity. If there was anything better to do with capital, we wouldn't be having negative real interest rates for 5 years now.


RE: Mr. Sequester, Meet Mr. Green
By ebakke on 4/25/2013 8:48:10 PM , Rating: 2
The opportunity cost associated with taxation. If you take X from me to "invest" in hybrids, I can't spend that same money elsewhere. Same is true if you borrow X on my behalf. I either a) don't have the money today, or b) know I won't have it tomorrow. In either case, there's a cost to the known government action: the unknown individual actions.


RE: Mr. Sequester, Meet Mr. Green
By Mint on 4/26/2013 7:48:42 AM , Rating: 2
Why do you look only at taxation and completely ignore the other costs offloaded to society that I'm mentioning? Are poorer families buying used vehicles just an afterthought to you?

You don't have a choice about being taxed, and a future used car buyer doesn't have a choice about the average fuel economy of the cars available to him. It's the same thing.

Would you support the gov't using shoddy materials for a highway that it sells as a toll road to the private market? Who do you think is going to pay for that down the road? But hey, let's minimize the spending of your tax dollars because you're not going to be driving on that road.


RE: Mr. Sequester, Meet Mr. Green
By ebakke on 4/26/2013 11:08:55 AM , Rating: 2
Hybrids cost more. It stands to reason that their residual values will be higher. Poorer families aren't going to buy a used hybrid because it'll still cost more than a used Kia Rio. The other cars still exist in the market place and they still have a lower cost of entry.

quote:
ou don't have a choice about being taxed, and a future used car buyer doesn't have a choice about the average fuel economy of the cars available to him. It's the same thing.
It is not the same thing at all. One is a direct consequence of the majority's authority over the minority (often for a political gain), and one is an indirect consequence of thousands/millions of unrelated decisions by individual people.
quote:
Would you support the gov't using shoddy materials for a highway that it sells as a toll road to the private market? Who do you think is going to pay for that down the road? But hey, let's minimize the spending of your tax dollars because you're not going to be driving on that road.
What? If we're giving this road away to some private entity to operate, why are we building it in the first place?


RE: Mr. Sequester, Meet Mr. Green
By Mint on 4/26/2013 5:35:39 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Poorer families aren't going to buy a used hybrid because it'll still cost more than a used Kia Rio.
I said poorER, as in poorer than those who buy new cars, not outright poor. I'm very clearly talking about everyone who buys used cars.

quote:
One is a direct consequence of the majority's authority over the minority (often for a political gain), and one is an indirect consequence of thousands/millions of unrelated decisions by individual people.
So what? We know that buying hybrids reduces the total cost - direct plus indirect - to society. As long as a car is adequately functional, it will be used by someone for 200k+ miles. You can't plead ignorance and pretend direct taxpayer cost is the only thing that matters.
quote:
What? If we're giving this road away to some private entity to operate, why are we building it in the first place?
Who said it's being given away? It's sold/leased to the highest bidder. Many assets built by the public sector are eventually privatized, and further to my example, there are many private highways in the US:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Private_highways_in_t...
Sometimes only a few lanes are privatized.

So stop dodging the question and tell me if it makes sense for the gov't to cut corners in a long term asset it builds and later sells.


RE: Mr. Sequester, Meet Mr. Green
By ebakke on 4/27/2013 1:25:42 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
I'm very clearly talking about everyone who buys used cars.
The cars will still cost more than non-hybrids when they reach the used car market. Buyers will still have to weigh paying more up front for something that should cost less in the long term (assuming they don't sell it or crash it in the meantime).
quote:
You can't plead ignorance and pretend direct taxpayer cost is the only thing that matters.
I never claimed it was the only thing that matters. What I'm stating, is that the taxpayer cost isn't just the raw dollars collected and spent. You must include what those dollars could be doing elsewhere.

I also don't care what someone else pays or uses for their transportation needs. They might choose an automobile. They might use a bike. They might walk. They might use public transit. It doesn't matter to me. So someone else saving money on gas in 5 years when they buy a 100k mile, used Prius doesn't give me warm fuzzy feelings. And it certainly doesn't make me want to pay for it. There's no reason we (collectively) should be subsidizing one particular method of transportation.
quote:
So stop dodging the question and tell me if it makes sense for the gov't to cut corners in a long term asset it builds and later sells.
Oh get off your high horse. I'm not dodging anything - you had a poorly worded argument that didn't make sense to me.

No, I don't think it makes sense to cut corners on a long term asset the gov't builds. But in your road example privatizing them is absolutely the exception, not the rule, and they aren't built to be privatized. That's an afterthought. By and large, they're public assets and they're (at least in part) paid for by the people who use them. I greatly prefer a well built road that requires less (and therefore less costly) maintenance. But again, in that example, we're talking about something paid for by the people who use it. Not the case with this GSA plan.


RE: Mr. Sequester, Meet Mr. Green
By maugrimtr on 4/26/2013 10:58:15 AM , Rating: 2
Won't they be taking your money, i.e. Tax, anyway? It's going to be spent - so there is no opportunity cost to you.


RE: Mr. Sequester, Meet Mr. Green
By ebakke on 4/26/2013 11:15:11 AM , Rating: 2
Even if they're taking it over my objections, I'm still losing out on my ability to use those resources elsewhere. And, if government expense Foo costs $10M when an alternative costs $8M - that's $2M that either a) won't be returned to you and I, b) won't be spent on government expense Bar, or c) will be collected from you and I so that the overloards can fund Foo and Bar.

No matter how you slice it, expenditures come at a cost (duh). That includes both the raw dollars leaving the piggy bank, as well as the opportunity for those dollars to be put to productive use elsewhere. It doesn't matter if they left your piggy bank at the point of a gun.


RE: Mr. Sequester, Meet Mr. Green
By ebakke on 4/25/2013 9:59:35 PM , Rating: 2
Furthermore, I'm not saving so that you can come take it. Or that you can decide your "societal investments" are better than my individual ones. You have no idea what purpose I have for saving, and neither does any bureaucrat. To claim that high(er) savings rates == no available investment opportunities is foolish. Then asserting the right to take those savings for your investments is just evil.


By marvdmartian on 4/29/2013 8:00:05 AM , Rating: 2
Depends upon the specific government agency. GSA vehicles are purchased by GSA, then leased to other government agencies for X amount of time. I'd be surprised to see a GSA leased vehicle last more than 5-6 years, though.

If you're talking fleet vehicles, I know that the Navy generally held onto vehicles for 7 years, regardless of mileage. The Air Force, on the other hand, oftentimes has 20 year old vehicles in their "blue fleet" inventory. Sometimes even older.

The interesting information would be to find out how the savings of buying & operating hybrids would compare to buying and driving lower priced small cars with 30-something MPG ratings. Let's just hope the government doesn't decide to buy a bunch of high priced Chevy Volts!


RE: Mr. Sequester, Meet Mr. Green
By nafhan on 4/25/2013 1:21:40 PM , Rating: 2
Eh... based on a quick check on Autotrader for the Ford Fusion*:
There's about a $5000 MSRP premium for the hybrid. That's equivalent to about 1400 gallons of gas at $3.50 a gallon. 1400 gallons would get you about 42,000 miles on the least expensive non-hybrid. It's hard to say where the break even point would be, but it's certainly after 42,000 and I'd guess likely before 84,000 - assuming gas prices stay the same. Gas prices go up very much and the savings could come much more quickly.

Veering into conspiracy theory land here... maybe someone in the government has a good idea of what fuel prices are going to do in the near future. :)

*
http://www.autotrader.com/research/car-models/2013...


RE: Mr. Sequester, Meet Mr. Green
By Nutzo on 4/25/2013 3:29:45 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Veering into conspiracy theory land here... maybe someone in the government has a good idea of what fuel prices are going to do in the near future. :)


Nothing that complicated.

Car sales in the US are starting to slow down, and this is just a way to boost sales, so they can say the economy is doing good.

The reason they are going to buy Hybrids, is so they can spend more money per car, and pretend they are being green.


RE: Mr. Sequester, Meet Mr. Green
By nafhan on 4/25/2013 5:57:32 PM , Rating: 2
Agreed that my conspiracy theory thing is likely incorrect. I would have just called it a theory if I thought I was right. :)

I disagree, at least in regards to the Fusion, that the hybrids are just an excuse to spend more money, though. The price difference is low enough that they may actually save some money on gas over the life of the vehicle at current gas prices. In fact, I think this is likely. This would not generally have been true of hybrids even a few years ago.


By Reclaimer77 on 4/25/2013 4:07:49 PM , Rating: 2
It's ridiculous. These people earn more than enough money to purchase their own vehicles.

This is yet another example of how the Government model is not sustainable. Imagine if every business out there had to provide a company car. Half would go bankrupt or be forced to dramatically increase costs, which would have a domino effect.

But the Government? Hey no problem, it's not their money after all.


Ideologically driven
By Dorkyman on 4/25/2013 11:20:10 AM , Rating: 2
The first rule for efficient government is for the bureaucrats to make decisions based on pragmatism, not ideology.

Sure, a hybrid uses less fuel. But it costs more up-front. Given the nature of government purchases, a hybrid won't be owned by the government long enough to recoup the initial purchase differential.

So it's a bad choice, one driven by touchy-feely concerns about Mother Earth and the like. Par for the course for this Administration, which is nothing if not ideologically driven.




RE: Ideologically driven
By Mint on 4/25/2013 12:05:16 PM , Rating: 2
Governments are supposed to do what's best for society in the long term.

Buying an inefficient vehicle because it has lower costs over the time of initial ownership winds up dumping the long term expenses for 10+ years on the rest of society.

People who buy used cars are stuck with the selection given to them based on decisions made years before.


RE: Ideologically driven
By Schrag4 on 4/25/2013 12:43:42 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Governments are supposed to do what's best for society in the long term.


Your position scares me. I agree that a lot of governments have that goal in mind, but I actually prefer the government that takes the position that letting people decide what's best for themselves is the best thing for society in the long run, and so its goal is to ensure that people can remain free by not letting me trample on your freedom. What if your government decides its best for society in the long run that your race be exterminated? If you think that sounds far fetched, pick up a history book.


RE: Ideologically driven
By BRB29 on 4/25/2013 2:43:14 PM , Rating: 2
Did you just compare extremists like Hitler to the US government? lol

I thin you need to pick up a book and learn what happened when there is no government or weak government. In fact, it's happening right now in Africa.
Your rights to whine about the government is being protected by the government itself. You are also being protected by the government from others disagreeing with you. If there was no government and someone doesn't like what you say, anyone can do whatever they feel like to you since there is no police force to do anything about it.


RE: Ideologically driven
By Schrag4 on 4/25/2013 6:57:46 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Did you just compare extremists like Hitler to the US government? lol


I don't think you ready my post. I didn't compare Hitler to our government, I compared hitler to Mint's notion of what government should do.

You said this:
quote:
If there was no government and someone doesn't like what you say, anyone can do whatever they feel like to you since there is no police force to do anything about it.


...in response to this:
quote:
I actually prefer the government that takes the position that letting people decide what's best for themselves is the best thing for society in the long run, and so its goal is to ensure that people can remain free by not letting me trample on your freedom .


I bolded for emphasis the part where I agree with you about how governments should prevent people from murdering one another over differences in opinions - or at least prosecute them, since that's pretty much all they can really do in most cases.

Let me quote Mint again:

quote:
Governments are supposed to do what's best for society in the long term.


Does anyone else immediately think of the movie I, Robot where V.I.K.I.'s interpretation of the law to protect humans evolves to include enslaving humans in order to prevent humans from hurting each other? I realize that's just a movie, but does that not register in the slightest for you? Honest question.


RE: Ideologically driven
By snhoj on 4/25/2013 5:42:41 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Sure, a hybrid uses less fuel. But it costs more up-front. Given the nature of government purchases, a hybrid won't be owned by the government long enough to recoup the initial purchase differential.


You also have to factor in the resale differential. The used hybrids will also fetch a premium as used cars.


Bet they'll all be SUV hybrids...
By Philippine Mango on 4/25/13, Rating: 0
RE: Bet they'll all be SUV hybrids...
By BRB29 on 4/25/2013 11:10:05 AM , Rating: 2
No that is your assumption. They actually pick the cheapest models that meets their needs. They make a comparative analysis based on 3 different vendors.

What's next? another conspiracy that gov vehicles artificially use more gas to help the oil companies?


RE: Bet they'll all be SUV hybrids...
By ebakke on 4/25/2013 11:28:46 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
No that is your assumption. They actually pick the cheapest models that meets their needs. They make a comparative analysis based on 3 different vendors.
To be fair, the needs of many agencies include SUVs. Obviously not all, but some do.


RE: Bet they'll all be SUV hybrids...
By BRB29 on 4/25/2013 2:33:22 PM , Rating: 2
To be fair, 10k vehicles is a drop in the bucket compared to total vehicles. SUVs and trucks do make a big portion of the fleet. There are also hybrid SUVs and trucks you know.


By ebakke on 4/25/2013 5:00:29 PM , Rating: 2
Of course there are hybrid SUVs and trucks. I'm not sure what point you're trying to make. Trucks and SUVs cost more than cars. Truck and SUV hybrids cost more than car hybrids.

The OP said he thought the gov't would buy the biggest, heaviest hybrids - trucks/SUVs. You said no, because the gov't uses competitive analysis to pick from 3 different vendors.

I was pointing out that your retort doesn't contradict the OPs statement. You can both buy the biggest, heaviest, most expensive class of vehicles and competitively purchase them.


Pay Off?
By ebakke on 4/25/2013 11:28:09 AM , Rating: 2
Any one have any idea how long the feds typically keep a vehicle? My perception is that they have new(er) vehicles, and that they potentially lease them instead of buying. Either way, they seem to get replaced rather quickly. I've certainly never seen a gov't plate on a rusted-out junker.

The point I'm getting at is this: will they keep it long enough to see a ROI on the higher entry cost of the hybrid?




RE: Pay Off?
By BRB29 on 4/25/2013 2:54:00 PM , Rating: 2
You keep posting nonsense. Vehicles are paid by each agency, not GSA. Each vehicle is kept until that agency decides to replace it. I've seen vehicles that are almost 20 years old until it gets replaced to vehicles that got replaced in just 5 years. It depends on the needs and funding of that organization.

I've never seen the government lease any vehicles. They've always bought it on a mass contract. Automakers like Ford, GM, Chrysler would sell special stripped down versions of a vehicle to the government to keep cost down. Yes I've driven stripped down colorado that has no power anything, no CD player, etc... nothing at all besides its function as a small truck. You won't find these vehicles for consumer sales unless the government sell them after they are done.

As for ROI, it's variable. I've seen some vehicles hit 100k in 2 years while others take 10 years to get 25k miles. Of course the idea is to replace it where it is most effective.

Of course you won't see a rusted out junker, it's because it has to be maintained on a very regular basis. Usually, it's taken in for inspection once a month. In places where it's rarely used then it's less often. It also gets washed and cleaned pretty often as each use is logged. If I get into a muddy vehicle, I will check who was the last person who used it without cleaning it and blast them. That's just a bad human being. The vehicles are shared and it's usually a someone with a high paygrade and supervisor/management position to be responsible for them.


RE: Pay Off?
By ebakke on 4/25/2013 5:03:23 PM , Rating: 1
See you provided a bunch of useful information and helpful answers to my questions. But I almost didn't read it because you started off being an asshole.


RE: Pay Off?
By Omega215D on 4/26/2013 2:22:32 AM , Rating: 2
Really? I still see quite a few agencies still using mid 90s early 2000s Chevy Capris, Impalas, Ford Crown Vics, Ford Explorers and GMC Suburbans. Some of the newer cars are hybrids or compressed natural gas.

Just recently the NYPD and other agencies started receiving Ford Fusion hybrids and Chevy Cobalts and a couple of Volts.


Cost?
By BRB29 on 4/25/2013 9:54:41 AM , Rating: 2
Nothing more for management. It's been around forever management property. All they're saying is they're selling some older vehicles and replacing them with hybrids.




Bankrupt but free spending
By BernardP on 4/25/2013 12:13:23 PM , Rating: 2
The US government is virtually bankrupt, yet, in the name of eco-ideology, spends money on high-priced, non-financially viable cars.




Idea
By Ammohunt on 4/25/13, Rating: 0
"Vista runs on Atom ... It's just no one uses it". -- Intel CEO Paul Otellini














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