U.S. civil servants to switch to electric vehicles
New U.S. President Joe Biden has pledged to switch the entire fleet of federal vehicles to U.S.-made electric cars as part of his “Buy American” programme.

     Biden signed an executive order under which federal authorities are to purchase as many American goods as possible.

    In addition to switching over to electric vehicles, the president intends to impose tougher regulations for parts of government-purchased cars. At the moment, government bodies can buy cars with minimum 50 % local production.

    “The content threshold of 50 percent isn’t high enough,”Biden told a news briefing after signing the executive order.  “And the way we measure the content doesn’t account for U.S. jobs and economic activity.  We’re going to change that as well.”

    Biden did not set a deadline for changing over the “enormous” fleet of government cars to electric vehicles. But he said the proposal would create one million new jobs.

    And there can be no doubt that the federal government is a large buyer of vehicles. 

     But changing over a fleet of such proportions will be a costly endeavour requiring time. Electrical vehicles are still considerably more costly than petrol cars.

    There is limited production of electric vehicles in the United States.

    Some carmakers are already engaged in production, like Tesla, General Motors and Nissan Motor. Ford Motor and other companies have announced plans to start making electric cars.

    According to 2019 figures, the federal government owns 650,000 vehicles, including 245,000 civilian cars, 173,000 military vehicles and 225,000 vehicles for the postal service.

    The new president also promised discounts to motorists who swap their petrol cars for electric vehicles. No details were given of the plan, but Biden had already said that he supports a federal programme offering a tax break of $7,500 to anyone buying an electric car.

    On his very first day in office, Biden rescinded a set of regulations for the car industry introduced by his predecessor. 

     He said electrified transport would be a priority for the U.S. auto industry, promised sizeable investment in developing a network of charging stations and new favourable conditions for car makers.

    And car manufacturers will be subject to regulations requiring a 5 % annual improvement in fuel economy of new cars, instead of the current 1.5 %.

    As a result, carbon emissions are, according to plan, to be reduced to zero by 2050.


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January 2021