The Obama administration has announced that 10,000 new hybrids will be added to the U.S. government fleet, which currently includes a total of about 200,000 vehicles. At the moment, hybrids account for only five percent, so this is a great step in the right – the green – direction. According to a report by Voelcker, the Ford C-Max is one of the many green hybrids that will begin making an appearance as a government vehicle.
This announcement came on the heels of President Obama’s stated goal to see one million electric vehicles on the road by 2015 – which may not be achievable. However, multiplying the number of government hybrids certainly sets a great example for other drivers. Only 919 hybrids were added to the fleet in 2011, so this is a vast improvement.
Government agencies choose their participation
A number of agencies are being encouraged to lease hybrid vehicles, but it’s been left to their discretion. However, given that hybrids are considered more cost-effective, it’s a natural choice for many managers. The Interior Department is committed to replacing 300 of its vehicles with hybrid models, which sets the tone for other agencies to follow suit.
Every hybrid saves about 100 gallons of gasoline in annual consumption. With 10,000 hybrids on the road, that means one million gallons saved each year. Purchasing hybrids also requires agencies to stand by the rule of leasing only vehicles that are assembled in America. That’s why the Ford C-Max is expected to be popular: Fords are assembled in Michigan. The Fusion, also built in Michigan, might be another popular choice.
A win-win situation
In addition to lessening carbon footprints, green vehicles are an easy way to support local companies and save money and petroleum. Due to the rapidly-growing positive public sentiment about green vehicles and their ever-increasing media pervasiveness, there’s virtually no downside to government agencies increasing the number of hybrids in their fleets. However, the Obama administration has little control over the exact number of vehicles leased, because each agency will decide for itself. Only time will tell if civil servants will embrace the green models in lieu of traditional favorites.
When it comes to the bottom line, though, there’s no denying that hybrids are kinder to budgets. In an era when agencies are looking for every possible way to improve their balance sheets, green vehicles are an easy fix, right along with cloud storage. More hybrids are being assembled in the U.S. than ever before, which offers agencies more options.
A smorgasbord of hybrids
Chevy Silverado hybrids are expected to be a popular choice for agencies that require larger vehicles for security or substantial transportation needs. As of 2012, all Camrys and Priuses have been produced exclusively in America, with zero outsourcing or overseas production. This means that both the Camry hybrid and the Prius are now qualifying options for government vehicle use. Of course, the Ford hybrids will likely remain among the most in-demand government vehicles.
It’s expected that more hybrids will also be assembled in the U.S. in coming years, providing even more choices for government vehicles. The Obama administration is committed to steadily increasing the number of hybrids on the road, both in terms of government vehicles and among civilians. However, it’s equally important that everyone understand the benefits of hybrids, both from a green standpoint and as a cost-saving solution.
Is Obama’s goal possible?
It’s too soon to tell if 2015 will really see one million electric vehicles. Consumers have embraced hybrids, but plug-in vehicles haven’t achieved the same level of popularity. It takes time to charge them, and consumers who lack at-home charging stations can feel largely shut out. Additionally, due to the high price of the vehicles, it is often the case that the costs of owning an electric are prohibitive, so allowing incentives and tax breaks would make it a more viable option for many cash-strapped families.
Regardless, it’s a big leap in the right direction and a great way to cut down on government spending.