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Biden moves to change out the federal gas-powered fleet for electric vehicles

The President also wants automakers to build cars with more American parts

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Photo (c) onurdongel - Getty Images
Newly elected U.S. President Joe Biden has laid out plans to scrap all gas-powered cars and trucks in the federal government’s fleet and put electric vehicles (EV) in their place.

Consumer demand for more traditional vehicles -- especially trucks -- is still vibrant, but EV sales nearly doubled from 2017-2019 and are continuing to climb. The EV rage seems to be an all-in thing. Even Cadillac has joined the race. 

Biden’s promise came alongside an executive order signed on Monday. His "Buy American” initiative is an administration kickstarter buoyed by an investment of “hundreds of billions of dollars” focused on supporting domestic industry, electric vehicles included.

“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 by American workers, creating millions of jobs — a million autoworker jobs in clean energy — and vehicles that are net-zero emissions,” Biden said.

Putting foreign imports on alert

Biden says the “Buy American” effort will be “the largest mobilization of public investment in procurement, infrastructure, and R&D since World War Two,” but he also played a heavy-handed card directed at automakers who rely on inexpensive imports from overseas.

“With the executive order I’ll be signing today, we’ll increase Buy American requirements for these kinds of projects and improve the way we measure domestic content requirements. For example, right now, if you manufacture a vehicle for the federal government, you need to show that at least 50 percent of the components of that vehicle were made in America,” Biden said.

“But because of loopholes that have been expanded over time, you can count the least valuable possible parts as part of that 50 percent to say ‘Made in America,’ while the most valuable parts — the engines, the steel, the glass — are manufactured abroad.”

Creating more jobs

The President knows he’s going against the wind, and there’s a lot of catching up to do. However, he’s undaunted. “Basically we’re batting zero for two,” he said. “The content threshold of 50 percent isn’t high enough. And the way we measure the content doesn’t account for U.S. jobs and economic activity. We’re going to change that as well.”

“The executive action I’m signing today will not only require that companies make more of their components in America, but that the value of those components is contributing to our economy, measured by things like a number of American jobs created and/or supported,” the president stated.

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