President Joe Biden vowed on Monday to replace the entire fleet of government cars and trucks with "clean electric vehicles" during his presidency as a way to lead the charge on climate issues and make good on his promise to launch a "clean energy revolution."
What did he say?
"The federal government also owns an enormous fleet of vehicles, which we're going to replace with clean electric vehicles made right here in America made by American workers creating ... a million autoworker jobs and clean energy and vehicles that are net-zero emissions," Biden said during a signing ceremony for his new "Buy America" executive order.
"This will be the largest mobilization of public investment and procurement, infrastructure, and [research and development] since World War Two," he added.
The move will affect more than 645,000 cars and trucks currently owned by the federal government, according to the General Services Administration, and is expected to cost at least $20 billion. Roughly one-third of the government vehicles are operated by the U.S. Postal Service.
Pres. Biden: "The federal government also owns an enormous fleet of vehicles, which we're going to replace with cle… https://t.co/usDnomUTWu— ABC News Live (@ABC News Live)1611608195.0
CNBC noted that the initiative will be difficult and costly, given the fact that very few companies in America are currently manufacturing completely electric vehicles.
"There are currently only a handful of all-electric vehicles being assembled in the U.S. Tesla, General Motors and Nissan Motor produce EVs domestically, while Ford Motor and others have announced plans to do some," the news outlet noted.
But some believe the industry is about to go through a transformation — and quickly.
"The current offerings are pretty slim, but the industry's about to unleash an avalanche of new product, and a lot of it built in North America," Kristin Dziczek, vice president of industry, labor, and economics at the Center for Automotive Research, said in an interview with CNBC. "Just about every U.S. plant is going to have a hybrid or electric product."
GSA reported that as of July 2020, only 3,215 of the government-owned cars or trucks were electric vehicles.
Biden repeatedly touted plans to shift the country away from gas-powered vehicles while on the campaign trail last year.
In July, he suggested as a part of a $2 trillion climate plan to completely outlaw new production of light- and medium-duty gas-powered vehicles through the implementation of rigorous new fuel economy standards.
While that drastic action has not yet been taken, it has only been days since Biden was sworn in to office, and it is clear that he intends to make top-down enforcement of clean energy initiatives a priority of his administration.