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:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care


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