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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.


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