Biden said switching the government’s “enormous fleet” with electric alternatives will help create one million new autoworker jobs in the United States.
“The federal government also owns an enormous fleet of vehicles, which we’re going to replace with clean electric vehicles made right here in America made by American workers,” the president said while signing his new “Made in America” executive order.
He didn’t elaborate on when the hundreds of thousands of federal vehicles will be replaced, or on what electric models will be chosen. According to Reuters, it could cost at least $20 billion to completely replace the fleet.
The White House didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment by The Epoch Times.
He separately criticized rules currently in place that allow vehicles purchased by the federal government to be considered domestically made, even if they have significant components that come from other countries.
Biden said he would close “loopholes” that allow key parts like engines, steel, and glass to be manufactured abroad for vehicles considered U.S. made.
“We’re going to change that as well. The executive action I’m signing today will not only require the companies make more of their components in America, but that the value of those components is contributing to our economy, measured by things like a number of American jobs created and supported,” he said.
The government owns 645,000 vehicles that were, as of 2019, driven 4.5 billion miles consuming 375 million gallons of gasoline and diesel fuel, according to report by the General Services Administration (GSA). More than 225,000 of the vehicles are owned by the U.S. Postal Service and some 170,000 of the vehicles belong to military agencies.
Roughly $4.4 billion was spent by the government on federal vehicle costs in 2019, the GSA said.
Of U.S.-government vehicles, just 3,215 were electric vehicles as of July 2020, GSA said.
“GSA is committed to exploring opportunities to leverage the purchasing and leasing power of the federal government to address the climate crisis, including greening the federal fleet,” a GSA spokesperson told TechCrunch.
“GSA currently manages over 224,000 passenger vehicles in its fleet to support the federal government’s mission. By leveraging clean energy vehicle technologies, GSA will support the president’s climate goals, while working with the American automotive manufacturing industry to ensure that these next generation vehicles are built in America by American workers,” the emailed statement said.
During his campaign, Biden pledged to “make a major federal commitment to purchase clean vehicles for federal, state, tribal, postal, and local fleets.”
“This will be the largest mobilization of public investment and procurement, infrastructure, and R&D, since World War II,” Biden said Monday.
Reuters contributed to this report.