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|Government workers will soon be driving more energy-efficient vehicles like this Ford Fusion Hybrid.|
Under U.S. President Barack Obama’s direction, his government’s General Services Administration (GSA) will accelerate its purchase of new cars for the government fleet by investing funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to buy about 17,600 new, fuel efficient vehicles produced by American auto companies.
The purchases come at a time when the U.S. auto industry is drowning in red ink. In response to public demands for government action, and to increase demand for American auto companies, the GSA has moved faster than at any time in its history to launch the aggressive fleet purchase strategy.
By purchasing fuel efficient vehicles from American automakers, Obama hopes to help stimulate the economy, support the auto industry, and achieve some of his ambitious energy-efficiency goals.
President Obama said, “The problems that caused this economic crisis weren’t created in a day, and it will take time and hard work to get our economy back on track. But I am 100 percent committed to a strong American auto industry, and we will stand with America’s auto workers and their families during these difficult times. As a part of our commitment to the American auto industry, I charged my administration with using Recovery Act funds to purchase a new fleet of fuel efficient government vehicles to increase demand for our American auto companies and stimulate the economy. I am pleased to announce today that my team has moved swiftly to accelerate this purchase and give our American auto industry and our economy a boost. This is only a first step, but I will continue to ensure that we are working to support the American auto industry during this difficult period of restructuring.”
As part of the accelerated fleet purchase, the GSA will spend $285 million of Recovery Act Funds to purchase about 17,600 commercially available fuel efficient vehicles for the government fleet before June 1, 2009. All purchases will be made from manufacturers with an existing contract with the GSA: General Motors, Chrysler and Ford.
The purchase includes 2,500 hybrid sedans that will be ordered by April 15. This is the largest one-time purchase of hybrid vehicles for the federal government fleet in history.
By swapping out less efficient federal vehicles for new hybrid and fuel efficient ones, the Government anticipates they will reduce gasoline consumption by 1.3 million gallons per year and prevent 26 million pounds of CO2 from entering the atmosphere.
The GSA will also dedicate $15 million to pilot advanced technology vehicles in the GSA Fleet. These programs — with orders to be placed by September 30, 2009 — will focus on commercially available compressed natural gas and hybrid buses, and all-electric vehicles.
Each vehicle purchased under the GSA’s accelerated strategy must have a higher miles-per-gallon rating than the vehicle it replaces with the overall goal of at least a 10 percent increase in fuel-efficiency for the entire procurement. Eventually, Congress is supposed to pass an incentive program so ordinary citizens can likewise turn in older, inefficient cars for cleaner cars.
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