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Obama’s Green-Car Plan Hits Limits

Sunday, February 26, 2012

(Bloomberg) President Barack Obama’s administration is buying fewer hybrid and electric cars and more vehicles that can consume both ethanol and gasoline to meet 2015 environmental goals, favoring older technology over new.

Obama gave speeches across the U.S. last year touting his twin goals of buying only alternative-fuel vehicles for the U.S. fleet by 2015 and getting 1 million electric vehicles on the country’s roads by that year.

That’s looking more difficult as the federal government learns the same lesson that U.S. car consumers have already figured out: it is tough being green. Rather than leading the way, the government has discovered that the high cost of hybrids and electric cars and their lack of availability often mean it makes more sense to buy cars with fuel-efficient conventional engines.

“You can say you’re engaged in this behavior -- saving the world -- but it’s not a true picture of what you’re doing if the vehicles aren’t using alternative fuels,” said Rebecca Lindland, an industry analyst at IHS Automotive in Norwalk, Connecticut.

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