GSA to purchase 5,600 hybrid vehicles this spring

By Ed O'Keefe
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, April 1, 2010; B03

The federal government's fleet of vehicles is about to get a little greener.

The General Services Administration said Wednesday that it will buy about 5,600 hybrid vehicles this spring as part of its annual budget purchasing. The vehicles will be delivered to their agencies within 90 days of arrival, a spokeswoman said.

The purchase will double the federal hybrid fleet to more than 11,100 cars and trucks. The GSA said it also plans to buy about 100 plug-in hybrid-electric vehicles in fiscal 2011.

The new vehicles replace older, less eco-friendly models, meaning no net growth for the fleet, the GSA said.

In addition to taxpayer funds earmarked for the purchases, the GSA uses proceeds from the sale of its older vehicles to fund the buys, the agency said.

Hybrid vehicles are powered by a gas-powered engine and a battery charged by the engine or special braking. Plug-in hybrids are charged by plugging the vehicle into an electrical charging station, often a wall electrical outlet. GSA and Energy Department officials estimate that the use of hybrids will save 7.7 million gallons of gasoline over five years.

The GSA spent nearly $300 million in economic stimulus dollars last year to buy more than 17,000 fuel-efficient vehicles to replace older models.

That was followed by an executive order signed last fall by President Obama that ordered the government to reduce its gasoline use by 30 percent by 2020.

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