By on February 25, 2012

Last year, President Barack Obama declared that one of the “Apollo projects of our times” is the goal for the United States to be “the first country to have a million electric vehicles on the road by 2015.” Companies that made and people that bought those electric vehicles received generous government money. One holdout in the rush for EVs: The U.S. government. It did not do as its President said, and ended up with a drastic cut in purchases of electric and hybrid vehicles after the speech was delivered.

GSA Purchases of EVs and Hybrids

U.S. General Services Administration purchases of hybrid and electric models fell 59 percent in fiscal 2011 to about 2,645, Bloomberg reports after analyzing data obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request.

The GSA procures approximately two thirds of the government’s vehicles . The other third is bought by the U.S. Postal Service.

The GSA bought 145 Chevrolet Volts in fiscal 2011, 1,380 hybrid Fusions, 101 Honda Insight hybrids and one Toyota Prius.

At the same time, the U.S. government is more in line with another Apollo project, namely buying only alternative-fuel vehicles for the U.S. government fleet by 2015. In fiscal 2011, the federal fleet added 32,000 cars and trucks that can burn E85. That’s 58 percent of the 54,843 cars bought by the GSA in fiscal 2011.

And it is a bookkeeping trick. 88 percent of the government’s “alternative-fuel vehicles” are flex fuel cars. They can use ethanol. But they can also use regular gas. They usually do.  Out of necessity: “There are only about 2,512 ethanol fuel pumps available among the estimated 162,000 fueling stations that sell gasoline,” says Bloomberg.

For years ago, Obama promised that by 2012, “half of all cars purchased by the federal government will be plug-in hybrids or all-electric.” They better write those purchase orders fast to meet that goal.

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41 Comments on “U.S. Government Ignores Obama’s EV Plans, Cuts EV Purchases In Half...”


  • avatar
    alf42

    More empty promises by this disgrace of a president. I applaud you for pointing out his failures, because the mainstream news media will not.

    • 0 avatar

      “disgrace”

      I support Obama and will continue to do so long after the pathetic Republican nominees LOSE IN NOVEMBER…but, even I don’t believe in Electric Vehicles because unless we have a whole hog comprehensive alternative energy plan, there will never be high efficiency low pollutant vehicles.

      • 0 avatar
        GS650G

        I don’t support Obama and will continue to do so long after the victorious Republican nominee WINS IN NOVEMBER…but, even I don’t believe in Electric Vehicles because unless we continue to spend tax dollars like a pimp with a week to live, there will never be high efficiency low pollutant vehicles.

        Ran a spell checker on that for ya.

      • 0 avatar

        Bet ya $20 Obama wins a second term.

        Put up or shutup.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        That’s a sucker bet since Obama has his re-election sewed up!

        The GOP has no contender that will draw a majority of votes, not even from Republicans, and certainly not from Independents like me.

        Love’m or hate’m, America will have Obama for four more years. He knows it, the GOP knows it, and the rest of us better get used to it.

    • 0 avatar
      alf42

      Despite the media being in his back pocket, Obama is LANDSLIDE beatable. Make no mistake. The hope and change thingy wore off a long time ago.

  • avatar
    mike978

    How are we progressing on going to the Moon and Mars as stated in President Bush’s 2004 State of the Union speech. I ask because people seem to take every aspiration in a speech to be serious.

    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,107807,00.html

    • 0 avatar

      How dare you compare Obama to Bush ….

    • 0 avatar

      Obama is the best president USA ever had in its short history. He is a visionary, the one who turned US economy around and set it in the right direction. He reformed NASA, provided Americans with high paying jobs, established sound and long term energy policy for US, improved America’s image around the world and set up balanced and sustainable financial policy for the long term prosperity of future generation. I am surprised that there are still people around who cannot see it and root against our leader. Shame on you!

    • 0 avatar
      28-cars-later

      “In CA we are shaping the future of America by working hard on forcing people to move into multistorey apartment buildings and using public transportation only. And why not – it is only fair – the rest of the world live in multistorey apartment building and do not drive cars. Why America has to be any better? What Americans have birthright to be rich and drive powerful cars?”

      Millions of Americans -of all races and nationalities- have died fighting the forces of Communism in hot and cold wars since 1917. If yours is the typical belief of the average Californian resident, then they have all died in vain. Good luck when your state turns into Greece and Cali becomes a third world society. Those of us outside of the disaster who didn’t drink the Berkley Kool-Aid will be happy to pick you off at 300 yards when you try to infringe on our territory.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        On the one hand, I think you fell for InsideLookingOut’s joke. On the other hand, a majority of American voters fell for Obama’s…

      • 0 avatar

        I am not kidding. CA is the most advanced state in the world. All innovations came from CA. Internet, Facebook, SpaceX and Tesla all were developed in CA. Smartest people in the world live in CA or plan to move here. Our governor is the one of the brightest in America second to only Obama himself and he rightly deserves Nobel Prize for his lifetime achievements.

        Regarding Soviet Union – Soviet people were happiest people (much happier than Americans for sure) in the world. They had guaranteed work for life, free housing, top notch free health care and free college and university education for all. Public transportation was the envy of the world. All that lasted until Reagan in his typical evil manner intentionally collapsed oil prices while same time increasing military spending.

      • 0 avatar
        siuol11.2

        You’re completely right. Us vets only fought for ignorant douchebags who would happily shoot their fellow citizens.

  • avatar
    jeoff

    Most budgets within the Federal government (excluding entitlements)are being hit hard. Usually government vehicles are pretty close to base, so it really doesn’t make sense to buy one 4-seat Chevy Volt when you can buy three five-seat chevy Cruzes for the same price; or buy two hybrid Fusions, when you can buy three base Fusions for the same price.

    While the Federal governement has never been bound by logic, when you take enough money away, we will occasionally do what makes sense.

    • 0 avatar
      fincar1

      +1

    • 0 avatar
      GS650G

      The GSA is adopting the same logic the consumer has, namely electric hybrid vehicles are not a financial success. This leaves saving polar bears as the last reason, provided you only use windmills, solar panels and hydro electric plants to charge one.

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        Um, after 140k miles in a Prius, I disagree about the total cost of ownership (TCO).

        Severak factors are usually omitted when discussing the TCO of the Prius:
        1. The Prius is a top-tier car WRT reliability. 140k with no real problems to speak of — a filler neck replacement at 85k, and headlights. That’s a LOT better than most of the non-hybrids I’ve owned, especially the domestics.
        2. When m wife bought ours, she was cross-shopping it with near-luxury cars like Volvos, not A-segment compacts like the Fit and Yaris. So, the TCO was lower right off the bat.
        3. Depreciation. Our 8 year old Prius with 140K miles on the clock is still worth $10-12k. Not many cars hold their value like this.
        4. Future volatility of oil prices. If you’re uncertain about what oil prices will be in the future, then spending money now may make sense. The Prius is a vehicle with low AND predictable operating costs.

        Buying Prii is probably not politically correct in the federal government because it doesn’t support American businesses, and because the Prius is an established technology that doesn’t need to be supported by government policy. But that doesn’t mean that they don’t make a lot of sense for someone who wants a dependable daily driver with low operating costs for the next decade.

        People who aren’t looking for that, though, should probably look elsewhere. The Prius is a competent little passenger car, but it does’t offer much beyond competence with respect to the driving experience — which shouldn’t be confused with the *ownership* experience I mentioned above[0].

        [0] I used to own a Volkswagen Jetta TDI. It was wonderful to drive when it ran — but the ownership experience s#ck3d @$$, because it was about as reliable as my father’s Volkswagen minibus.

  • avatar
    vanpressburg

    Germany gave up nuclear energy,they start to build coal plants.
    China is now massively building coal plants-two power stations every week !!!
    Coal is much worse for global warming.
    Read article here:

    Burning all oilsands would cause fraction of coal’s warming effect, prof says.
    They found that if all the hydrocarbons in the oilsands were mined and consumed, the carbon dioxide released would raise global temperatures by about .36 C.
    In contrast, the paper concludes that burning all the globe’s vast coal deposits would create a 15-degree increase in temperature.
    Read all here:
    http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/story/2012/02/20/oilsands-clean.html
    Forget EV- they need energy from coal plants, what is worse for this planet !!!

  • avatar
    BoredOOMM

    Wonder what the fate of that solitary Toyota Prius is?

    More runaway spending?

    (Sorry, I could not resist)

  • avatar
    danwat1234

    In a way I’m kind of glad gas prices are getting higher. Then we’ll have more efficient vehicles on the road.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      Yes… The market starts pricing oil higher, and which is a market response to the available supply of oil. And people changing to more efficient vehicles “market solution” to increasing the efficiency of vehicles in this country.

      But, yet, some j@ck@$$ will cry that it’s a socialist plot and that it’s Obama’s fault that oil wells take so long to drill and that the oil production in the USA peaked 40 years ago while he was still in elementary school.

      But, alas, the reason USA oil production peaked a decade before I was born has to do with the fact that we’ve gotten the easy oil. The oil that the “drill baby drill” folks are pinning their hopes on is harder to get and lower quality. Oil companies have been hiring geologists like mad in order to figure out how to get this harder oil, but it takes years to train a geologist, and it takes years to survey an area and drill a well, and it takes years to negotiate permission from the landowner. Oh, yeah, and those permits that the drill-baby-drill people are focused on are just a small part of the process. Oh, and if either the geological analysis or the permitting process doesn’t work right, we could all have flammable and/or poisonous drinking water. In other words, oil is expensive for a reason, and the price is a legitimate market signal to quit whining and drive less, or drive more efficiently.

      • 0 avatar
        chuckrs

        But, yet, some j@ck@$$ will cry that it’s a socialist plot…

        OK, I’ll take the bait. Actually, its a plot by people who think that if you wish hard enough, you can make something true that really isn’t true. It isn’t true that wind power is viable without subsidies, else we would see wind farms developed without subsidies. It isn’t true that solar (photovoltaic (e.g., Germany) or heliostats (e.g., Spain) are viable, either. (The Germans p*ssed away $130 Billion and now have little to show for it.) It is Obama’s fault that his administration keeps throwing increasingly debased money after earlier somewhat better money supporting these technologies without any apparent benefit – we’re forty years in on wind power subsidies and the predictor of when a wind farm will turn to s**t is when its subsidies end. Solar – Solyndra and others in photovoltaics, Brightsource in heliostats – are both good examples of – call it what you may – crony capitalism or venture socialism. BTW, I’ll agree that other energy alternatives are subsidized thru tax breaks. The difference is that those alternatives actually produce significant and reliable energy.
        Lastly, it would be naive to think that any extractive resource activity would go from concept to production quickly. It always takes years or even decades.
        I like energy. Life without it would be Hobbesian – nasty, brutish and short. We can always be more efficient at using it. But that’s often the work of decades too. All I ask that you don’t try to use my money to productize crap that hasn’t worked, doesn’t work and the smart betting says won’t work in the future short of a miraculous breakthrough, of the sort you can’t plan for or wish into existence. If it ain’t viable, put the money into more research instead.

    • 0 avatar
      Lokki

      I’m kind of glad that food prices are going up. That way I’ll lose weight.

      • 0 avatar

        +1. And drive small cars. I wish cars and single family become unaffordable for most of people so they finally started living modestly in apartments sharing them with their kids, parents and grand parents. If Volt is any indications we are moving in right direction. I finally have hope for the future when smiling happy people live together in community and share their happiness.

  • avatar
    Wheatridger

    I’d like to see the figures for government purchases of all vehicles. The Postal Service has been in no shape to buy vehicles, with its losses and contractions, and this could have crimped those ambitious plans. Without total purchase numbers, we don’t know if EVs are falling flat, or if Obama is actually doing what the Cons say they want: cutting purchases and saving money.

  • avatar
    shaker

    We should go to an all-electric transportation system ASAP, and fast-track nuclear electric plants to support the increased demand. As the nuclear plants are decommissioned (in 50 years or so), the waste can be shipped to the Moon by Rutan Rockets, Inc. and stored in a cloistered facility outside of the Gingrich One Moon Base (he will have been elected in 2020).
    Of course, by then we will have commercialized fusion electric power, so an excess amount of radioactive waste will be stored in the Moon Dump, which will eventually reach Critical Mass; the resulting explosion will push the Moon out of orbit, resulting in the first Interstellar Space Vehicle, which will be manned by the hapless denizens of Gingrich One.
    Ahh, to live long enough to see this bright future!

  • avatar
    protomech

    “U.S. General Services Administration purchases of hybrid and electric models fell 59 percent in fiscal 2011 to about 2,645, Bloomberg reports after analyzing data obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request.”

    Without having read more than the original article, I fail to see how this data squares with “U.S. Government Ignores Obama’s EV Plans, Cuts EV Purchases In Half”.

    FY2010 ended September 2010. The ONLY relatively mainstream EVs available at that time were the BMW Mini E (lease-only) and the Tesla Roadster.

    FY2011 ended September 2011. While the majority of the “hybrids and EVs” purchased were closed-loop hybrids, the 145 Volts purchased in FY2011 represent a small increase in purchasing over the (likely) 0 EVs purchased in FY2010.

    The significant decrease in hybrid purchases is worth investigating, but it’s not the “truth about cars” to spin this as an anti-EV shift.


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