Joe Biden Directive for All Federal Electric Cars Could Pose Huge Problems, GAO Warns
President Joe Biden wants most federal vehicles to switch to electric by 2035, but a new report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) warns that this change could cost taxpayers extra.
The GAO report, published Thursday, warns about “higher up-front costs and charging infrastructure uncertainties.”
“The increase in zero-emission vehicle acquisitions will also likely lead to an increase in acquisition costs as zero-emission vehicles generally have higher purchase prices—although, as we reported in 2019, some of this cost can be recovered over time due to lower maintenance and fuel costs,” the GAO reported.
“The General Services Administration (GSA) officials agreed that vehicle costs could limit the potential of fleets to transition to electric vehicles, but they expected that the difference in purchase price of electric vehicles compared to conventional gasoline vehicles would continue to decline as production increases and manufacturing costs decline. However, according to GSA officials, pricing may not decline as rapidly as anticipated prior to the global pandemic.”
The GSA promotes best management practices and efficient government operations throughout government, according to its website.
The feds may also need more than 100,000 new ports to charge their Electric Vehicles (EV’s). This is because the feds expect agencies will need one new charging port for every two acquired EV’s, according to the report.
“Such infrastructure development will require a significant investment—the total price of charging stations is highly variable, from $1,000 to over $100,000 for the most complex situations,” GAO staff members said.
Federal agencies currently own and operate more 4,000 charging ports—based out of about 1,050 charging locations—in fewer than 500 cities.
In addition, the feds own and operate 102,000 law enforcement vehicles “that may post unique challenges,” the GAO report warned.
“For example, the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) operate about 35,000 light-duty sport utility vehicles designated as law enforcement vehicles, according to GSA’s Federal Fleet Report,” the GAO said.
“These vehicles may have additional performance requirements that may not be met by currently available zero-emission vehicle models. Moving forward, in cooperation with GSA, some agencies have begun providing vehicle manufacturers vehicle requirements and feedback to create suitable electric vehicles for law enforcement purposes.”
In fiscal year 2020, federal agencies operated and maintained around 610,000 non-tactical vehicles in their domestic fleets. These fleets, ranging from sedans to ambulances to buses, traveled more than 4 billion miles and consumed more than 360 million gallons of fuel. Each year, agencies replace, on average, about 8 percent of their fleets, the GAO report said.
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