President Joe Biden wants to replace the federal government’s vehicle fleet with battery-electric vehicles. The president has announced plants to replace government vehicles with domestically-made EV’s, though details of the plan are still largely unknown.
According to the General Services Administration’s (GSA) 2019 fleet report, the government has around 645,000 vehicles. Nearly 22-percent of these vehicles are mail trucks utilized by the U.S. Postal Service. The report also shows the average age of mail trucks in the U.S. is around 28 years, suggesting they are overdue for replacement anyway. Aside from the mail trucks, the government fleet is quite diverse.
A number of government agencies utilize pickup trucks. Other agencies have very specific needs, such as FBI vehicles and even the president’s own “The Beast” limo. It is unclear if every government vehicle is subject to Biden’s announcement. The ultimate price tag of the program to the taxpayers is also unknown.
Biden calls this move largest mobilization of public investment and procurement infrastructure and R&D since World War II. While true, the announcement does not detail a timeline for procurement. So at this point it is unclear if the government will turnover their entire fleet during Biden’s term or if the finish line is further out. Given the magnitude of this project, the finish line almost certainly has to be beyond Biden’s initial term.
President Biden’s announcement rests at the intersection of two of his hallmark issues: climate and the economy. A fleet of 645,000 vehicles is not an immaterial carbon footprint to minimize. Subsequently, automakers building EV’s in America will certainly enjoy the economic benefits of such a large procurement program.