Here’s what would happen if the US federal fleet was 100% electric

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Electrifying the entire US federal fleet would save $6 billion over 15 years, according to a report from global research and analytics firm ICF Climate Center.

The entire US federal fleet, across all civilian and military agencies, is made up of more than 650,000 vehicles globally.

Those vehicles travel more than 4 billion miles per year. The cost to operate the fleet is nearly $4.5 billion each year, and that includes the cost of paying for more than 367 million gallons of gas.

Yet out of more than half a million vehicles in the federal fleet, only about 4,300 of them are battery electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles – that’s less than 1%.

In December 2021, President Joe Biden issued an executive order that set a goal of 100% zero-emission vehicle acquisitions by 2035, and that includes the federal fleet. So what would be the impact if the government electrified the other 99%?

As ICF rightly asserts, a new EV tends to have a higher sticker price than a new internal combustion gas vehicle. But over the lifetime of the vehicle, EVs are less expensive than gas cars.

ICF modeled what would happen if the entire US fleet was replaced in 2024 and compared the costs and savings of EVs and gas cars. The EV fleets’ purchase cost was $33.5 billion, and the gas vehicle fleets’ purchase cost was $30 billion. However, the EV fleet would cost $5.5 billion to maintain, and the gas fleet would cost $9.7 billion to maintain.

And there was a big disparity when it came to fuel: The EV fleet costs $2.5 billion to charge up, and the gas fleet costs $8.8 billion to fuel. The EV fleet would also have the extra cost of $1 billion for EV charger installation and $0.1 billion for EV chargers.

Bottom line, yearly operating costs for a federal EV fleet would be much lower than an ICE fleet. EVs would save federal fleet managers nearly $6 billion over 15 years, even after the big upfront purchase cost. ICF calculated that break-even would occur in 2028 – just four years.

Most importantly, that would avoid nearly 1.7 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually. The US government transitioning to a fully electric fleet would avoid an additional $1.2 billion in social costs of carbon, such as crop damage, flood risks, increased heating and cooling costs, and health impacts.

Saving a lot of money and fighting climate change – kinda seems like a fully electrified US fleet is a no-brainer.

Read more: US Postal Service commits to buying 100% electric trucks by 2026


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