Should Agencies be Required to Use Zero-Emission Vehicles?

One lawmaker wants to require federal agencies to only purchase or lease zero-emission vehicles for their fleets.

One lawmaker wants to require the federal government to use only zero-emission vehicles.

Congresswoman Julia Brownley (D-CA) introduced the Green Federal Fleet Act (H.R. 5653) which would stipulate that federal agencies cannot purchase or lease vehicles unless they are zero-emission.

Federal law currently stipulates that at least 75% of the vehicles acquired by a federal fleet are required to be alternative fuel vehicles (42 U.S.C. § 13212(b)(1)-(2).

Brownley’s bill defines “zero-emission vehicle” as “a passenger vehicle that produces zero exhaust emissions of any criteria pollutant, precursor pollutant, or greenhouse gas, other than water vapor, in any mode of operation or condition…”

Vehicles already purchased or leased would be exempted from the bill if it were to be enacted and would only apply to future purchases/leases. The bill also states that agency heads can also buy a vehicle that is not zero-emission “if the [agency] head determines that, with respect to a particular circumstance, using a zero-emission vehicle will not be technically feasible.”

“With the climate crisis already upon us, it is high-time that we leverage the resources of the federal government to aid in our transition to cleaner transit systems and a green economy,” said Brownley. “The Green Federal Fleet Act will reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions, spur private-sector development of zero-emission vehicle technology, and help pave the way for a national transition to a cleaner, zero-emission transportation sector.”

About the Author

Ian Smith is one of the co-founders of He has over 20 years of combined experience in media and government services, having worked at two government contracting firms and an online news and web development company prior to his current role at FedSmith.