As part of the Obama administration's $787 billion stimulus package, the federal government plans to spend $300 million to replace its current fleet of vehicles with more fuel efficient models. About $285 million will be used to purchase some 17,600 new vehicles from the Detroit 3 automakers by June 1. Each new vehicle will be required to manage at least a 10% improvement in overall fuel efficiency to be considered for purchase.
The first wave of orders will be for 2,500 hybrid sedans and will be finalized on April 15th (perfect timing – there ought to be a big influx of tax money coming in, right?). At the moment, we're not sure how the 2,500 sales will be broken down amongst the three automakers. We do know, however, that Ford's Fusion Hybrid is the most efficient midsize sedan available and Chrysler doesn't currently offer anything to compete.
According to a White House statement, swapping the government's current fleet for more fuel efficient models will save 1.3 million gallons of fuel per year and lower carbon emissions by 26 million pounds.
The remaining $15 million will be used for pilot programs focusing on "commercially available compressed natural gas and hybrid buses, and all-electric vehicles." President Obama said that this action will end up "[saving] the government significant money over time." Of course, it's also sure to have a positive impact on the collective pocketbooks of the American automakers. See the official White House press release after the break.