GSA goes smaller, and fewer, for fleet

Tuesday - 5/31/2011, 9:08am EDT

Michael Robertson, Chief of Staff, GSA

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By Suzanne Kubota
Senior Internet Editor
FederalNewsRadio.com

The General Services Administration is taking the next step toward greening its federal fleet. GSA Chief of Staff, Michael Robertson tells Federal News Radio that the plan has two parts.

First, the electric vehicle purchase is a follow on to GSA doubling its hybrid fleet.

The second part is the presidential memorandum that directs agencies to work with GSA to right size their fleet and continue their efforts to go green.

"What we're trying to do," said Robertson, "is get the agency's mission needs met through the vehicle composition." Robertson explained that might mean trimming the number of vehicles the agency has, or it might be finding more fuel efficient vehicles, or it might be keeping the same number but downsizing in size and composition so that agencies can better use the vehicles they have.

"In a lot of cases you have agencies that are using very large fuel-inefficient cars to do very short runs on campus or to and from across town, and those could be much smaller vehicles that are getting much higher fuel efficiency and releasing lower carbon emission," he explained.

Under a current pilot project, the Electric Vehicle Pilot Program, 116 plug-in electric vehicles will be leased to 20 agencies in five cities across the country. Charging infrastructure will be installed in federal buildings in those cities.

Robertson said the GSA has been working with the agencies for months to determine their needs. He pointed out the newly purchased Nissan Leafs get about 75 miles to a charge, "so we're not going to put them where the mission need is 76 miles (away.)"

The "advantage of the Chevy Volt is that it can flip to gas if it goes beyond its charge capability, so as we work with the agencies, what we're doing is we want to place them where the mission need matches the technology of the vehicle. That way we're getting the most fuel efficiency possible out of this new advanced technology."

The retirement of vehicles in the existing fleet will be handled as normal, said Robertson.

"As we replace cars annually, we pull the least fuel efficient vehicles out of the fleet and then re-sell them as part of our ongoing, revolving fund that supplies the money for these vehicles. As we being to phase those out and bring in the higher fuel efficiency vehicles, we will then begin to turn over the entire fleet."

The president has directed that by 2015, 100 percent of the purchases will be advanced fuel technology vehicles.