One Lawmaker’s Crusade to Green the Federal Fleet

Rep. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y. Rep. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y. Carolyn Kaster/AP

The federal government maintains the largest fleet of vehicles of any organization in the nation.

One congressman sees that as an opportunity.

Over the last few years, Rep. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., has introduced the same amendment to virtually every appropriations bill to make it to the House floor. The measure aims to stop agencies from buying cars and other light vehicles that rely on only gasoline.

Instead -- beginning in 2016 -- all new light-duty vehicles would be required to use alternative fuels, such as hybrid, electric, compressed natural gas or bio fuel. The conversion, Engel has said, would help agencies find savings and make the nation more secure.

“Our economy and our national security are threatened by our dependence on foreign oil,” Engel said. “Each federal agency possesses a fleet to which this could be applied.”

The Obama administration has consistently fought to regulate industries that negatively impact the environment, but has met time and again with pushback from congressional Republicans. Engel’s repeated victories, therefore, represent rare bipartisan agreement on environmental policy.

Most recently, Engel successfully attached the amendment to the 2015 Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act, marking the 11th time it has been approved since Engel began his campaign. Congress has rarely passed regular appropriations in recent years, however, so the legislation has not yet been signed into law.

President Obama issued a presidential memorandum in 2011 with the same goals Engel is pushing. Those benchmarks -- requiring all new light-duty vehicles to be alternatively fueled by Dec. 31, 2015 -- could be overturned by a future administration, however, motivating Engel to continue his crusade. The New York congressman has so far successfully amended four fiscal 2015 spending bills to include his federal fleet language. He’s also pushed legislation that would set alternative fuel standards on all vehicles sold in the United States.

The federal government maintains a fleet of more than 630,000 vehicles, which comes with an annual price tag of more than $4.4 billion. 

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

  • Cyber Risk Report: Cybercrime Trends from 2016

    In our first half 2016 cyber trends report, SurfWatch Labs threat intelligence analysts noted one key theme – the interconnected nature of cybercrime – and the second half of the year saw organizations continuing to struggle with that reality. The number of potential cyber threats, the pool of already compromised information, and the ease of finding increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal tools continued to snowball throughout the year.

  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

  • GBC Issue Brief: The Future of 9-1-1

    A Look Into the Next Generation of Emergency Services

  • GBC Survey Report: Securing the Perimeters

    A candid survey on cybersecurity in state and local governments

  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

  • eBook: State & Local Cybersecurity

    CenturyLink is committed to helping state and local governments meet their cybersecurity challenges. Towards that end, CenturyLink commissioned a study from the Government Business Council that looked at the perceptions, attitudes and experiences of state and local leaders around the cybersecurity issue. The results were surprising in a number of ways. Learn more about their findings and the ways in which state and local governments can combat cybersecurity threats with this eBook.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.