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.