GSA Helps Agencies "Drive Green"

Posted August 7, 2007

It’s that time of year. Despite high gas prices, the road beckons. Our thoughts turn to the words of St. Augustine, who said, “The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.”

Common Cents by Lurita Doan More than 630,000 federal vehicles share the road with vacationers who will hit the highways this summer. The Postal Service and Defense Department each own a third of those cars and trucks; the rest belong to other civilian agencies.

The agencies, with GSA’s assistance, have worked hard to meet federal energy efficiency requirements and now have 131,112 alternatively fueled vehicles on the road. GSA has purchased over 140,000 AFVs from manufacturers for our federal customers (that’s more than any single organization in the U.S.), and is also mandated by law to help the other agencies implement programs to meet petroleum reduction and AFV targets.

We’re not exactly new at this. GSA has been providing vehicles and fleet management services to over 75 agencies since 1954, when Eisenhower was president, 21 cents bought a gallon of gas, and a good car cost less than $2,500.

We’re also happy to do a little leading by example. Our internal fleet numbers continue to decline in response to efforts to precisely align the number and type of vehicles necessary to achieve our mission. The GSA fleet stands at 1,190 vehicles compared to 1,224 in 2005, and 26 percent of our vehicles are compact or subcompact sedans. We’ve bettered our average fuel economy from 17.6 mpg in 2005 to 23.5 mpg in 2006, a 33.5 percent improvement. Our cost per mile of 43 cents is 39 percent below the governmentwide average of 71 cents. And we continue to increase the percentage of AFVs in our fleet (57 percent of acquisitions versus a governmentwide average of 29 percent). That includes an AFV I’ve ordered to replace the traditional car designated for official use by the GSA Administrator. One other point: GSA is among the first agencies to develop a Vehicle Allocation Methodology. That’s a fancy name for software that contains uniform criteria for evaluating vehicle needs. GSA will use the tool to establish an optimal baseline fleet and then use it to evaluate all acquisition requests. We’ll also make it available to other agencies upon request.

Lastly, I’ll soon carry the GSA “Go Green” banner to Orlando, site of the 7th National Motor Vehicle and Aviation Exposition and Workshops, a sort of Disney World for federal, state, and local government fleet officials. GSA’s Office of Governmentwide Policy and GSA Fleet are co-sponsors of this massive educational, training and networking event.

My message will build on President Bush’s view that, “When it comes to energy and the environment, the American people expect common sense, and they expect action.”

I hope more and more federal agencies look to GSA to satisfy their transportation needs. We’re committed to providing the best fleet services in the business at the lowest possible cost, a formula that will yield major dividends for our colleagues, our citizens and our environment.

Lurita Doan is Administrator of the U.S. General Services Administration.

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