U.S. federal government orders 5,600 hybrids, first 100 Chevy Volts [Update]

President Obama announced today that the federal government has placed fleet orders for 5,600 hybrid vehicles - more than doubling the number of hybrids currently in the federal fleet. Obama also said that the government will purchase the first 100 Volts possible when they go on sale early next year.

The news of the government's large hybrid order comes just days before the National Highway Traffic Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency pass a joint final ruling establishing new, stricter emissions and fuel economy standards on automakers.

According to the Detroit News, the federal government has placed an order for 5,600 new hybrid vehicles to replace traditional gas-powered vehicles in its aging fleet.

According to Obama, the government's order will be effectively "doubling the number of hybrid vehicles in the federal fleet, even as we seek to reduce the number of cars and trucks used by our government overall. We're going to lead by example and practice what we preach: cutting waste, saving energy and reducing our reliance on foreign oil."

In addition to ordering 5,600 hybrid vehicles, the Obama administration also announced that the government will be purchasing approximately 100 Chevy Volts next year. Aside from identifying the 100 Volts, the administration has not identified the make or model for the remaining hybrids to be purchased.

Obama's announcement comes one day before NHTSA and the EPA are set to finalize an increase in standards that will directly affect automakers. The new regulations will increase standards for greenhouse gas emissions, as well as increase corporate average fuel economy standards for light-duty vehicles for model years 2012-2016. The new regulations are expected to cost automakers $60 billion just over the next five years, but will boost fleet-wide fuel economy to 34.1 mpg in the same time period.

The changes in fuel-economy standards are expected to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 950 million metric tons and reduce oil consumption by 1.8 billion barrels over the complete lifetime of the vehicles, according to NHTSA.

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