17,600 New Hybrids by June

fsn10_pg_005_ext_lg.thumbnail.jpgSomeone got a hold of the White House credit card and is going on a hybrid buying spree.

Today, President Barack Obama announced that the General Services Administration (GSA) will accelerate its purchase of new cars for the government fleet by investing funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to buy about 17,600 new, fuel efficient vehicles produced by American auto companies by June 1, 2009.

On March 30, President Obama directed his administration to speed up the purchase of these vehicles to increase demand for American auto companies during these difficult economic times. The GSA moved faster than any time in its history to launch this aggressive fleet purchase strategy. By purchasing fuel efficient vehicles from American automakers over the next two months, this move will help stimulate the economy, support the auto industry, and achieve energy-efficiency goals.

President Obama said, "The problems that caused this economic crisis weren’t created in a day, and it will take time and hard work to get our economy back on track. But I am 100 percent committed to a strong American auto industry, and we will stand with America’s auto workers and their families during these difficult times. As a part of our commitment to the American auto industry, I charged my administration with using Recovery Act funds to purchase a new fleet of fuel efficient government vehicles to increase demand for our American auto companies and stimulate the economy. I am pleased to announce today that my team has moved swiftly to accelerate this purchase and give our American auto industry and our economy a boost. This is only a first step, but I will continue to ensure that we are working to support the American auto industry during this difficult period of restructuring."

Well, there’s some good news from Detroit, for a change. 

22 replies
  1. rosalind says:

    apologies for the early OT: telecommunication cable cuts hit home –

    Vandals cut four AT&T fiber-optic cables in San Jose early this morning, knocking out landline and cellular phone service to thousands of residential customers and businesses in southern Santa Clara County and in Santa Cruz and San Benito counties, authorities said.


      • rosalind says:

        that landline and cell phone service is out is really scary, in particular not having the ability to call 911.

    • randiego says:

      Rosalind, thanks for that link. Today is day 5 of CWA working without a contract with AT&T. Interesting timing, but I can’t begin to guess what it means.

      • rosalind says:

        the article has been updated:

        In both instances, saboteurs had to use a piece of equipment to lift heavy manhole covers and climb down several feet to get to the cables. They would have to have been equipped with heavy-duty cutting equipment to slice through the thick cable coating.

        reference to the CWA talks has also been added.

        • randiego says:

          there are a lot of outages, and a lot of accidental cuts, vandalism and theft. the use of the word sabotage was what got my attention.

          • Hmmm says:

            Well, they would have had to know just which 4 cables to hit in order to cause that amount of outage. Sounds like an insider job, especially with the strike in effect.

            Or else intelligence, as San Jose is a target-rich environment and I’m sure many other entities would love to have a tap there. I mean the same deal as with the Mediterranean cuts last year, i.e. an outage is about the only possible opportunity to insert a split/tap elsewhere in the line and have it go undetected.

            • Hmmm says:

              With apologies to the house for extending the OT –

              Four AT&T fiber-optic cables in an underground vault were severed shortly before 1:30 a.m. along Monterey Highway north of Blossom Hill Road in south San Jose, police Sgt. Ronnie Lopez said. Four more underground cables, at least two of which belong to AT&T, were cut about two hours later along Old County Road near Bing Street in San Carlos, authorities said.

              Crystal Davis, a crisis communications manager for Sprint, said, “I’m not sure how it’s all connected, but it happened at around the same time. It’s concerning.”

              Landlines, cell phones and the Internet were all affected.

              Verizon spokesman Jon Davies said the outage was first reported to the company at 1:25 a.m.

              Sprint said its underground cable in San Carlos was cut about 3:30 a.m.

              Knew where they wanted to cut — twice.

  2. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    Cool news about the autos.
    Hope those GAO employees enjoy the new assignment.

    Politically, the Plantation Caucus will make themselves increasingly irrelevant if they whine about this decision ;-))

  3. FormerFed says:

    I think this is an example of the Govt doing a good thing to help industry. I certainly don’t classify it as socialism.

    Pretty good article in the NYT about how Ford is (hopefully) getting through the crisis by making some good management decisions:


    • BoxTurtle says:

      That was my thought. It really looks like the governments PREFERRED alternative for Chrysler is bankruptcy.

      And even if all this work goes to GM (likely, IMO), that’s not going to stop GM from bankruptcy court. I’m not seeing any movement on the part of the secured creditors, they seem to be pretty confident that they’ll get more on the dollar via the court.

      If GM takes a “quick run” through backruptcy court, how many CDS does that trigger? A quick way to clean a CDS off of your balance sheet is to have it pay off.

      Boxturtle (And I wonder how many of those CDS are owned by the secured creditors)

      • emptywheel says:

        I just emailed bmaz to support his take. Chrysler has one hybrid–the Avalon. The presser stated that 2500 sedans will be purchased by tax day, but that means only the Malibu, Aura, or the Fusion (they don’t have to delivered by tax day, just purchased; as to the Aura, GM is promising to ditch Saturn, but since they’re in the business of guaranteeing warranties anyway…).

        GM’s got some pickups to sell to the USFS and whatnot (which probably accounts for a significant part of the national fleet). Escape might get some of this business as well.

        And then GM has several big SUVs to lug VIPs in (Tahoe and Yukon, and if they’re VVIPs, Escalades).

        But yeah, Chrysler isn’t going to be kept in business with this, not least because they’ve not got a vehicle eligible for the immediate spending.

        • bmaz says:

          Dodge doesn’t have squat in a hybrid. The only thing they even remotely could potentially deliver were Aspen/Durangos, and they are, from what I gather, shut down on that and would have, at best, token numbers available in the time period discussed. No sedans anywhere near production – at least a year away. So, effectively, this is a zero for Dodge.

          Ford has the Escape now, and probably has some numbers of those, although I don’t know how big of numbers. They have Fusions and Milans on the way to dealers by the end of spring, so probably these can be sold in some quantity to the government. The real beneficiary may be GM here who, to my understanding, actually has numbers, and in multiple lines, available.

          • freepatriot says:

            the pods are coming for us

            and our groceries

            I for one welcome our new Pod Transportation system …

        • BoxTurtle says:

          The unsecured creditors are hosed anyway. I doubt they want GM in bankruptcy court, they’ll get zeroed. Nothing in that article about the secured creditors. They’ve got all the leverage.

          Boxturtle (The Government has some leverage on some of the secured creditors, if they choose to use it)

  4. emptywheel says:

    Here’s the fine print, since I brought it up:

    * The GSA will spend $285 million of Recovery Act Funds to purchase about 17,600 commercially available fuel efficient vehicles for the government fleet before June 1, 2009. All purchases will be made from manufacturers with an existing contract with the GSA, which are General Motors, Chrysler and Ford.

    * This includes the purchase of 2,500 hybrid sedans that will be ordered by April 15. This is the largest one-time purchase of hybrid vehicles for the federal government fleet in history.

    * By swapping out less efficient federal vehicles for new hybrid and fuel efficient ones, this strategy will reduce gasoline consumption by 1.3 million gallons per year and prevent 26 million pounds of CO2 from entering the atmosphere.

    * GSA will also dedicate $15 million to pilot advanced technology vehicles in the GSA Fleet. Pilot programs will focus on commercially available compressed natural gas and hybrid buses, and all-electric vehicles. These orders will be placed by September 30, 2009.

    * Each vehicle purchased under the GSA’s accelerated strategy must have a higher miles-per-gallon rating than the vehicle it replaces with the overall goal of at least a 10 percent increase in fuel-efficiency for the entire procurement.

  5. BargainCountertenor says:

    Well, look at it this way. We can give Detroit money, or we can buy cars with the money we’d give them anyway.

    I think it’s smarter to buy cars than to just give them money. But that’s just me, in all likelihood.

  6. randiego says:

    you can find it using google maps –
    cut 1) Blossom Hill Road at Monterey Highway, San Jose
    cut 2) close by at Cottle and Hays (literally yards away)
    cut 3&4) two other cuts they didn’t identify (located in San Carlos) as they didn’t cause outages

    The articles each have different points of view.
    Link 1
    Link 2
    Link 3

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