Bloomberg reports that the General Services Administration has increased the percentage of hybrids in its fleet purchases from about one percent to at least ten percent since President Obama took over. And you better believe that the government isn’t buying the same hybrids that American consumers are.
The U.S. government buys hybrids almost exclusively from Ford and GM. It bought only 17 Prius models and five of Honda’s Civic hybrids in the past two years. Chrysler Group LLC stopped making hybrids in 2008 after about two months of production.
The government purchased about 64 percent of GM’s Chevy Malibu hybrid models and 29 percent of all Ford Fusion hybrids manufactured since Obama took office in 2009, the data show. GM stopped making the Malibu hybrid in 2009 after lack of consumer demand. GSA also bought about 14 percent of Ford Escape hybrids.
According to Bloomberg’s math, a quarter of the hybrids built by GM and Ford since Obama took office have been purchased by the government. And the fleet buys weren’t cheap… for taxpayers or the automakers.
According to Bloomberg’s number-crunching, the government paid a healthy sum for each car… but the automakers still didn’t make full profit on the deals. The report reveals
The models purchased by the government ranged from $23,072 to $47,079, according to the data. The government paid an average of $5,281 less for its hybrid vehicles than sticker prices at a dealership
Lose-lose? Not according to the GSA, whose spokseperson insists
This is the beginning. Our main goal is to increase the fuel efficiency of the federal fleet. The other goal is to drive the market toward cleaner technologies. It’s in the early stages of the government acquiring more hybrids and in larger quantities.
Of course buying up the few hybrids built by Detroit doesn’t hurt the political argument for the bailout’s success either. Buying hybrids has all kinds of benefits… it’s just that few of them can really be quantified in dollars or common sense.