An Electrifying Announcement on Government Vehicles

Chevrolet Volt with charging station (via Flickr's saebaryo)

One day before the Obama administration is expected to reveal updated window stickers for new vehicles, it’s leading by example, announcing plans on Tuesday to purchase 116 plug-in electric vehicles. As part of the plan, the federal government will buy 101 Chevrolet Volts and install charging stations in Detroit, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, and Washington, DC:

The purchases announced Tuesday are expected to cut gas usage by almost 29,000 gallons a year, saving taxpayers an estimated $116,000 and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 257 metric tons, said [General Services Administration] administrator Martha Johnson.

In addition to the extended-range Volts, the GSA said it will but 10 battery electric Nissan Leaf vehicles and five Think City EV models from Finnish EV start-up.

In a related announcement, the White House formalized a directive Obama issued in Mach ordering the government to purchase only fuel-efficient cars and trucks by 2015.

“Today’s announcement is a win across the board, cutting the government’s dependence on oil, saving taxpayers money on gas, and reducing global warming pollution, all while investing in American innovation,” said Zoe Lipman, the National Wildlife Federation’s senior manager for transportation and global warming solutions. “We can have quality cars that deliver real savings at the gas pump while doing the right thing to protect our air and water.”

The General Services Administration has already begun purchasing more fuel efficient vehicles, with this year’s purchases averaging 21% better gas mileage than last year’s.

But the real game-changer could come in the months ahead, when the Obama administration sets new fleet-wide vehicle standards for cars and light trucks. A strong standard would help us turn the corner on America’s oil dependence, support our economic recovery, and safeguard our natural resources.

Please take a moment to ask the Obama administration to support a strong fuel efficiency standard of 60 miles per gallon by 2025.