Thoughts on President Obama’s Executive Order on Federal Sustainability

On March 19, Pres. Obama announced an executive order designed to cut GHG emission from the federal government in half within a decade. This order has many moving parts, targets and reports. Several parts bear on EV’s:

Section 3(g)(v):

“(v) planning for agency fleet composition such that by December 31, 2020, zero emission vehicles or plug-in hybrid vehicles account for 20 percent of all new agency passenger vehicle acquisitions and by December 31, 2025, zero emission vehicles or plug-in hybrid vehicles account for 50 percent of all new agency passenger vehicles and including, where practicable, acquisition of such vehicles in other vehicle classes and counting double credit towards the targets in this section for such acquisitions; and

(vi) planning for appropriate charging or refueling infrastructure or other power storage technologies for zero emission vehicles or plug-in hybrid vehicles and opportunities for ancillary services to support vehicle-to-grid technology;”

So, new purchases would be 20% plug-in 5 years, and 50% in 10 years. Ambitious!


Section 7(f):

“(f) consider the development of policies to promote sustainable commuting and work-related travel practices for Federal employees that foster workplace vehicle charging, encourage telecommuting, teleconferencing, and reward carpooling and the use of public transportation, where consistent with agency authority and Federal appropriations law;”

Yea! The President said workplace charging! However, notice the qualifier. We still need an act of Congress to get around the appropriations wall at GAO. The state of the art is the “EV-Commute Act”, HR 4645 (current state here) It’s been introduced in the House. Should we write letters to our House members?


Section 10(a):

“(a) sustainable operations of Federal fleet vehicles, including identification and implementation of opportunities to use and share fueling infrastructure and logistical resources to support the adoption and use of alternative fuel vehicles, including E-85 compatible vehicles, zero emission and plug-in hybrid vehicles, and compressed natural gas powered vehicles;”

What missing? H2. Interesting that hydrogen vehicles appear to be absent from the entire exec. order.


Section 12(a):

“(a) GSA shall ensure that vehicles available to agencies for either lease or sale, at or below market cost, through its vehicle program include adequate variety and volume of alternative fuel vehicles, including zero emission and plug-in hybrid vehicles, to meet the fleet management goals of this order.”

GSA will ensure that the federal government is buying enough alt. fuel vehicles.


Section 12(b):

(b) DOE shall assist the United States Postal Service (USPS) in evaluating the best alternative and advanced fuel technologies for the USPS fleet and report on such progress annually as part of the planning requirements of section 14 of this order.”

Of special interest to EVADC President Ron Kaltenbaugh, who is interested in electrifying the postal fleet. Go Ron!


Section 19(d):

“(d) “alternative fuel vehicle” means vehicles defined by section 301 of the Energy Policy Act of 1992, as amended (42 U.S.C. 13211), and otherwise includes electric vehicles, hybrid electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, dedicated alternative fuel vehicles, dual fueled alternative fuel vehicles, qualified fuel cell motor vehicles, advanced lean burn technology motor vehicles, low greenhouse gas vehicles, compressed natural gas powered vehicles, self-propelled vehicles such as bicycles, and any other alternative fuel vehicles that are defined by statute;”

This could be read as including hydrogen, but it’s not clear. They are electric vehicles, no? But, usually they’re referred to by name….


Section 19(aa):

(aa) “zero emission vehicle” means a vehicle that produces zero exhaust emissions of any criteria pollutant (or precursor pollutant) or greenhouse gas under any possible operational modes or conditions.


H2 vehicles read on this definition.


One thought on “Thoughts on President Obama’s Executive Order on Federal Sustainability

  1. Section 19(d) states fuel cells. This includes natural gas, methanol, ethanol, and gasoline fuel cells, plus arguably vanadium and lithium-based fluids. Hydrogen isn’t the only game in town, even at its own game.

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