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Why This Matters: The 645,000 federal vehicles pale in comparison to the 276 million vehicles (paywall) on the road in the USA, but the signal the Biden climate EO sends is clear. Despite the favorable publicity and increasing affordability, EVs represent less than 2% of automobile sales in the U.S. Dan Becker, director of the Safe Climate Transport Campaign at the Center for Biological Diversity, said (paywall) the directive is “a good first step that allows the federal government to show the way. But almost 300 million vehicles would need to follow.” Given the quick about-face by GM, the trend toward EVs is clearly growing.
By The Numbers
The federal fleet includes200,000 passenger vehicles, 78,517 heavy-duty trucks, 47,369 vans, 847 ambulances, and 3 limousines.
As of 2019, only 4,475 government-owned vehicles were electric.
Every year, federal vehicles drive 5 billion miles, expend 400 million gallons of gasoline, and release 7 billion pounds of greenhouse gas into the atmosphere.
Transforming this fleet into an electric powerhouse (pun intended) could reduce the government’s carbon footprint rather significantly, and increase the total number of EVs in the U.S. by 50%. But the question remains: will the public follow suit?
Experts believe that the massive buying power of the U.S. government will help propel the EV market forward and into the public’s garages. “All the positive impacts will reverberate far beyond the federal fleet, because the public sector’s sharp increase in demand for EVs will prime the pump for private-sector fleets and the consumer market,” explained (paywall) Ben Prochazka, national director of the Electrification Coalition.
North American automakers are currently working on the production of 99 different electric vehicle models, and the EV market continued to grow even as Coronavirus ravaged other markets. The International Energy Administration predicts that by 2030, the global number of battery-powered and hybrid vehicles will increase by 2700%, from just 5 million to 140 million.
The decision, as expected, faces pushback from the fossil fuel industry, which has seen massive losses during the pandemic. David Kreutzer, a senior economist at the pro-fossil fuel Institute for Energy Research told Utility Dive, “President Biden misses two key points — electric vehicles are not all that clean and they are not all that American.” Others worry that Biden’s plan may not have staying power. “It is really important they structure this in such a way that it is an ongoing program that will survive the Biden administration,” said Chris Nelder, a manager with Rocky Mountain Institute’s (RMI) mobility practice.
By Natasha Lasky, ODP Staff Writer While coal use is a leading source of greenhouse gas emissions, another industry is set to outpace it: plastic. A new report from Bennington College and Beyond Plastics estimates the plastic industry emits over 232 million tons of greenhouse gases each year, the equivalent of 116 coal-fired power plants. […]
By Alex Bowman, ODP Contributing Writer It’s a well known fact that fossil fuels are plaguing our atmosphere, but new research finds petroleum products are entering our air in a whole new form: microplastics. A study published in Nature on Wednesday reveals findings of how airborne microplastics behave in the earth’s atmosphere and contribute to […]
The world has been tasked to decarbonize by 2050, but juggling COVID-19, the economy, jobs, and energy is a massive task. Turmoil in Congress and opposition from oil giants certainly isn’t helping, so how can the US meet its net-zero goals in just three decades? Some of those in power would have you believe it’s […]
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