Feds Mandate Smaller Cars, This Time For Their Own Fleets

May 24, 2011
U.S. Capitol

U.S. Capitol

If you work for the federal government and want to keep driving a government-owned, full-size sedan or SUV, you’d better be able to explain how the vehicle is essential to your duties.

Under a new presidential order for federal agencies, vehicles should be “mid-size or smaller sedans” with optional equipment limited “to what is essential to meet agency mission.” Excepted from the new ruling are vehicles used for law enforcement, protective, emergency response or military tactical operations. In other words, the president isn’t giving up his Beast limousine any time soon, and federal law enforcement agencies can continue to use full-size sedans.

If you’re a mid-level government manager, however, your days of full-size-sedan-and-automatic-climate-control bliss are short-numbered. Under the order, any executive fleet vehicles larger than a mid-size sedan, or those not meeting alternative-fuel vehicle requirements, must be disclosed on an agency website.

The new mandate extends to flex-fuel vehicles, too. New vehicles ordered must be “advanced technology” to maximize fuel efficiency, but that category includes both hybrids and E85 flex-fuel vehicles, which can run on fuel blended from up to 85 percent ethanol. The order stops short of mandating the use of E85 in such vehicles for now. However, it does require that, “alternative fueled vehicles must, as soon as practicable, be located in proximity to fueling stations with available alternative fuels, and be operated on the alternative fuel.” 

Forward thinking or economic folly? Ask your Congressperson.

[The Detroit News]

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