All but 15 of the electric vehicles will be General Motors' Volt extended-range electric. The General Services Administration didn't say what price it is going to pay, but the Volt compact cars are priced at $41,000 for consumers. Although the move is aimed at spurring electric-car adoption, it's not that the Volt was a slow seller: GM is basically sold out of the car through the end of the year because of limited production.
At least the electrics will be pittance compared to the 650,000 vehicles that the government manages overall in its fleet.
The moves are mostly symbolic to show the government is doing its part in trying to reduce America's dependence on oil. Obama wants to put 1 million plug-in electric vehicles on the road by 2015:
"Diversifying our transportation fleet with hybrids, electric vehicles and other alternative-fuel vehicles is a critical element in President Obama's long-term plan to break our dependence on foreign oil and invest in America's growing clean energy economy," Energy Department Secretary Steven Chu said at a news conference Tuesday announcing the moves.
The purchases announced Tuesday are expected to cut gas usage by almost 29,000 gallons a year, saving taxpayers an estimated $116,000 and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 257 metric tons, said GSA administrator Martha Johnson.
In addition to the extended-range Volts, the GSA said it will but 10 battery electric Nissan Leaf vehicles and five Think City EV models from Finnish EV start-up.
In a related announcement, the White House formalized a directive Obama issued in Mach ordering the government to purchase only fuel-efficient cars and trucks by 2015.