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Obama orders national fleet to switch to altfuels

WASHINGTON – A Presidential Memorandum directs federal agencies to convert fleets to 100 percent alternative fuel vehicles by the end of 2015 as well as cut petroleum consumption by 30 percent by 2020.

By December 31, 2015, all new light duty vehicles leased or purchased by the government must be alternative fueled vehicles, such as hybrid or electric, compressed or liquefied natural gas, or biofuel.

"We owe a responsibility to American citizens to lead by example and contribute to meeting our national goals of reducing oil imports by one-third by 2025 and putting one million advanced vehicles on the road by 2015," reads the memorandum issued by President Obama.

The memo indicated that the government could save costs by operating "only as many vehicles as needed to work efficiently," and then leveraging purchasing dollars "to build manufacturing capacity for more alternative fueled vehicles."

The document also addressed issues such as vehicle size, engine size, optional equipment, and optimum fleet size.

In conjunction with the announcement, the General Services Administration launched a pilot project to incorporate electric vehicles and technologies into the federal fleet.

The Department of Energy is also working with the private sector to transition commercial fleets to alternative, fuel-efficient technologies.

The move was likely anticipated by truck OEMs, who have produced several new alt-powered light and medium-duty work and utility trucks at a time when market demand for such vehicles is considered to be low.

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