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Electrifying US federal fleet could slash CO2 emissions

Managers of US federal vehicle fleets should update procurement processes to promote electric vehicles, US-based Atlas Public Policy recommends.

Replacing 40% of all vehicles owned by US government agencies with electric vehicles (EVs) by 2025 could save $316m and 3.2 million tonnes of CO2-equivalent emissions, says US consultancy Atlas Public Policy in a report. The savings are over vehicles’ lifetimes and equivalent to annual energy use emissions from 380,000 homes. The figures exclude the US Postal Service.

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US border patrol vehicle patrolling along the fence of the international border between San Diego, California and Tijuana, Mexico. (Photo by Sherry V Smith via Shutterstock)

The federal government is the single largest fleet operator in the US, managing 315,000 light-duty vehicles and buses running primarily on petrol or diesel.

However, 126,000 vehicles – the aforementioned 40% – could achieve a lower total cost of ownership if they were switched to EVs immediately, the report states. By 2030, this figure rises to 305,550, or nearly the entire fleet, leading to cost savings of $1.18bn and CO2-equivalent emissions savings of 7.6 million tonnes.

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Federal fleet vehicles are replaced as often as every five years, presenting a significant opportunity for federal agencies to electrify large portions of their fleets by 2025, says the consultancy.

To begin planning for large-scale fleet electrification, Atlas Public Policy recommends that fleet managers bring total cost of ownership comparisons between conventional vehicles and EVs into the procurement process.