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Money Meet Mouth: Obama Orders Government To Buy Green Cars

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On: Thu, May 26, 2011 at 4:50PM | By: Chris Weiss

Money Meet Mouth: Obama Orders Government To Buy Green Cars

A well-publicized and long-standing goal of President Obama and his administration is to put a million electric vehicles on U.S. roads by 2015 in an effort to cut dependence on foreign oil and improve emissions. Recently, though, it's become increasingly obvious that that goal may just be a little too ambitious, with media reports showing that the administration's numbers are overly optimistic, to put it politely.

So, Obama is taking a little motivation from the age-old maxim "If you want it done right, do it yourself." He recently ordered the government to purchase more than 100 EVs for the government fleet.

GM will get the biggest boost from the administration's effort, selling 101 Volt models as part of the announced buy. The other 15 vehicles will be Leafs from Nissan and City Cars from Think.

While 116 vehicles really don’t put that much of a dent into the massive one-million goal, the move is part of a greater directive that dictates a policy of purchasing only alternative-fuel government vehicles by 2015. Considering that the U.S. government fleet is estimated at around 600,000, that initiative will have no small impact on the overall number of green cars and trucks on U.S. highways.

Unfortunately, not all those alt-fuel vehicles will count against the goal. The new directive stipulates alternatively fueled vehicles, which the government extends to the likes of diesels, flex-fuel vehicles capable of using E-85, and even fuel-efficient gas models. Obama's one-million pledge, on the other hand, cites electric vehicles quite specifically.

According to Bloomberg, the government paid $38,500 per Volt (MSRP: $41,000), $33,000 per Leaf, which is about face value, and $32,500 per Think City Car (MSRP: app. $36,500). Those numbers are before the $7,500 federal ta... oh wait, never mind.


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