Feds Green the Fleet but What Happens to Old Cars?

By Stephen Markley  on Thu Nov 19 02:46:00 GMT-06:00 2009

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The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act appropriated money to buy 17,246 new vehicles, including 3,000 hybrids, in an effort to improve the fuel economy of the federal fleet across agencies as diverse as the Marines to the U.S. Forest Service.

The General Services Administration claimed that this would lead to a 40 percent improvement in fuel efficiency and remove 334 million pounds of greenhouse gases over the next seven years. However, the GSA does not take into account that unlike the Cash for Clunkers program, which scrapped consumers’ cars, the government’s vehicles will be sold at auction and presumably put back on the road.

Depending on how much these old vehicles are driven (and whether they replace vehicles that are even less fuel efficient), they could still be on the road for a long time. While greening the federal fleet certainly won’t hurt the environment, the GSA claims must be balanced against the fact that the old vehicles will likely still be driven in some capacity.

"At a value of approximately $40 million, the government-owned replaced vehicles will not go to waste," the GSA said in a statement. "They will be resold to further invest in greening the federal fleet."

The GSA used $300 million in stimulus money to replace cars, trucks and buses with new models that offered better fuel economy. So far, the agency has auctioned off approximately 8,000 of the old vehicles.

Spin Meter: Feds Buy Green Cars, Auction Rejects (Associated Press)



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