WASHINGTON – President Obama issued a memorandum directing the federal agencies that operate the vehicles in the federal fleet of more than 600,000 civilian and non-tactical military vehicles to find ways to reduce petroleum-based fuel usage and cut costs.

The memorandum includes a requirement that all new light-duty vehicles, leased or purchased by agencies, must be alternative-fueled vehicles by Dec. 31, 2015. Examples given include hybrid, electric, CNG, and biofuel vehicles.

Executive vehicles used by federal agencies must be mid-size or smaller sedans (unless a larger vehicle is critical to the agency’s mission) and have limited engine sizes. The memorandum states that within 180 days, agencies must disclose, on their websites, any executive vehicles used by an agency larger than a mid-size sedan or that fail to comply with the alternative-fuel vehicle requirement.

The memorandum states that the “federal fleet should operate only as many vehicles as needed to work efficiently.” Within 90 days of the date of the memorandum, the General Services Administration must develop and deliver a vehicle allocation methodology (VAM) to agencies.

The VAM is designed to help agencies determine how many they really need and select vehicle options based on lifecycle cost analysis.

The memorandum also directs agencies to incorporate new fleet management plans that incorporate these changes into their Annual Strategic Sustainability Performance Plans for their June 2012 submission.

For law enforcement and emergency vehicles, the memorandum directs the GSA, within 180 days of the memorandum’s date, to provide alternative fuel vehicle applicability and implementation guidance to the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security, Justice, the Treasury, and other appropriate agencies.

Lastly, the memorandum directs the DOE to assist the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) in evaluating the best alternative-fuel vehicles for the organization’s fleet. This is in light of a recent GAO report detailing challenges the USPS faces in reducing fuel usage and operational costs.