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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.
On Monday, The New York Times (NYT) and The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) published extensive editorials on the climate provisions of President Biden’s American Jobs Plan. The two headlines say it all. The NYT’s read “Trump Abandoned the Climate. This Is Biden’s Moment,” while the WSJ’s called the plan “The Green New Deal, In Disguise.” […]
by Amy Lupica, ODP Staff Writer Ahead of President Biden’s virtual Earth Day climate summit, more than 300 businesses and investors are urging the president to set ambitious 2030 emissions goals. Since rejoining the Paris agreement on his first day in office, Biden’s administration has yet to release an updated Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) but has promised to do so before […]
by Amy Lupica, ODP Staff Writer Last Thursday, Congresswoman Teresa Leger Fernández (D-NM) introduced the Orphaned Wells Cleanup and Jobs Act of 2021 which would authorize nearly $8 billion in grant funding for abandoned oil and gas well cleanup projects across the nation. Methane emissions from abandoned wells threaten to derail President Biden’s climate goals, but dozens of […]
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