The Obama administration announced yesterday
that it has instructed federal agencies to buy smaller, more fuel-efficient
vehicles in an effort to meet national energy and environmental goals.
U.S. Present Barack Obama is ordering government
agencies to buy cars like the Ford Fiesta, Chevy Cruze and Chevy Volt instead
of full-sized cars like the Ford Taurus or Chevy Impala. These instructions are
aimed to reduce U.S. oil imports by one-third by 2025 from 2008's import
levels, and to place 1 million plug-in electric vehicles on the roads by 2015.
The U.S. government plans to buy 116 plug-in
electric vehicles as part of its fleet efficiency effort. Of the 116 plug-in's,
101 will be Chevy
Volts, which will be made in Detroit, while the other 15 will be battery
Leafs and Think City electric models. These environmentally
friendly models will join the government's 600,000-vehicle fleet.
There are exceptions to the rule, though. Obama
noted in a memo that federal agencies are not to buy full-size sedans unless
absolutely necessary, and said that government employees can continue using
full-sized SUV's that can run on alternative
fuels like E85. But those using larger vehicles six months
from now will have to post that they do so on their websites.
In addition, Obama suggested that optional
equipment should be limited unless it is vital to agency missions. Exceptions
will be made for vehicles used for military tactical operations, emergency
response and law enforcement.
The new electric vehicle pilot program will equip
20 government agencies in five cities with these vehicles. All branches of the
U.S. military as well as the Energy Department and Veterans Administration will
take part in the program, and the five chosen cities will be Detroit,
Washington D.C., San Diego, Los Angeles and San Francisco. In addition, 100
charging stations will be placed at federal buildings in Michigan,
California and Washington D.C.
The government hopes to encourage U.S. citizens to
adopt environmentally friendly vehicles by leading by example. According to
government estimates, replacing some of the government fleet with these
electric vehicles will reduce
government fuel consumption by 7.7 million gallons, which equates to 385,000 barrels
of oil. Obama hopes to have most government vehicles purchased in 2015 be environmentally