WASHINGTON – In a speech to the nation President Obama outlined his administration’s plans to reduce dependency on foreign oil and move toward a more sustainable economic model. One aspect of this plan is to convert the federal fleet, which consists of more than 600,000 vehicles, to hybrid and other alternative-fuel models. His plan calls on federal agencies to ensure that by 2015, all new vehicles they purchase will be powered by alternative fuels.
The plan cited the GSA’s purchase of 5,603 hybrid vehicles in 2010, which doubled the number in the federal fleet, as progress toward the goal of greater energy independence. GSA is also preparing to purchase 100 plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), which are scheduled for delivery in 2011.
The changes to the federal fleet are just one aspect of the plan. It outlines a range of energy development initiatives. One example is researching cellulosic ethanol with the goal of breaking ground on at least four commercial-scale cellulosic or advanced bio-refineries during the next two years. Another item in the plan discusses reforming biofuel incentives. The plan also specifies natural gas technology development with more scrutiny of the chemicals used in the fracking process.
The plan cited the 35.5 2016 average fuel economy standards as part of the plan to reduce dependence on foreign oil. In July the EPA will finalize fuel economy and greenhouse gas emission standards for commercial trucks, vans, and buses built between 2014 and 2018. The administration also announced it will introduce a proposal for fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions standards for passenger vehicles from 2017 through 2025 in September.