President Joe Biden said today that the U.S. federal government would replace its fleet of vehicles with electric vehicles. “The federal government also owns an enormous fleet of vehicles, which we're going to replace with clean electric vehicles made right here in America, by American workers." He said the move will create a million jobs in the auto and clean energy sectors.
The federal government maintains a fleet of 645,000 vehicles, according to the General Service Administration’s 2019 Federal Fleet Report released in 2020. Those include vehicles assigned to various civilian (like the Postal Service) and military agencies. Of those, the majority — about 412,500 — are trucks, with 272,000 light trucks, 102,000 medium-duty and 39,000 heavy trucks. The fleet also includes about 224,000 passenger vehicles and 8,000 other vehicles like buses and ambulances.
Biden didn’t provide specifics, such as a timeline for replacement, the automakers that would provide the vehicles, or how much the government would spend on the massive initiative. The announcement comes as part of a larger push to stimulate American manufacturing. Biden signed an executive order Monday aimed at increasing factory jobs, which have slumped by 540,000 since the pandemic began last year. The order increases the amount of production content in a product for it to be considered made in America under current “Buy American” requirements, making it harder for contractors to qualify for a waiver and sell foreign-made goods to federal agencies.
Last week, Pete Buttigieg, Biden’s nominee for Department of Transportation, indicated he would work to support Biden’s green transportation plans. Buttigieg suggested the administration would reverse a Trump administration rollback in federal automotive fuel economy standards to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and would work to encourage use of electric vehicles through measures such as adding a half-million charging stations nationwide. Buttigieg did not specify where money could come from for big investments in infrastructure, and wouldn’t rule out a tax increase, floating the idea of a “vehicle miles traveled” tax as an alternative to the current gas tax that funds the Highway Trust Fund.
This story contains reporting from the Associated Press.