While we're thrilled to see that our own federal government has added 5,600 hybrid vehicles to its fleet this year, we're less enthusiastic to find out that each hybrid model purchased by the General Services Administration (GSA) costs an average of $11,214 more than the conventional models typically selected for government fleet use. Of the 5,600 hybrids added this year, nearly 5,000 were Ford Fusion Hybrids with a starting price of $27,995, an $8,000 premium over the base model. This price premium has convinced the head of the GSA's motor vehicle division to reconsider plans to purchase any additional hybrid models.
Bill Toth, director of the GSA's Office of of Motor Vehicle Management, seems displeased with the government's decision to add thousands of hybrid to its fleet. Toth now believes that federal agencies will likely stay away from hybrid models unless another round of stimulus funding allows for the purchase of these higher-priced vehicles. Toth sums up the issue regarding the cost of hybrid vehicles this way:
They're very expensive vehicles and when you look at meeting your mission ... and one [vehicle] is $10,000 cheaper than the other, capital's limited. It's tough to make that jump. In trying to maximize your budget and trying to be green, there are some trade-offs there. In this case the incremental cost is very steep.
At a premium of $11,214, we'd be inclined to agree with Toth. Then again, there are lower-priced hybrid options to chose from, but most of those don't bear a badge from one of the Big Three.