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Eye Opener: The government's greener wheels

By Ed O'Keefe

Fuel-efficient vehicles similar to this Chevrolet sedan will soon occupy government parking lots.

Eye Opener

Happy Wednesday! The government's recent big purchase of fuel-efficient vehicles is almost complete and has significantly improved its fuel consumption. The resale value of trade-in vehicles has also generated slightly more money than anticipated.

Two-thirds of the roughly 17,200 fuel-efficient vehicles purchased by the government with stimulus funds have been delivered to 20 federal agencies, reports Tim Kauffman of the Federal Times. The new cars mean "an astounding 40 percent increase in fuel efficiency compared with the vehicles traded in," according to the General Services Administration.

"GSA purchased more than 5,100 compact sedans and 3,100 hybrid vehicles for federal agencies. Those vehicles are replacing older and larger cars... ... The average age of the vehicles being replaced is 11 years.

"Twenty agencies are receiving Recovery Act vehicles. Because the money comes from a Recovery Act allocation to GSA, the cost of the vehicles does not come out of the agencies’ budgets, as traditional vehicle purchases do. The new vehicles replace older cars agencies own and will become part of agency-owned fleets."

"GSA received 92 percent of the Recovery Act vehicles it ordered from the Big Three automakers using $285 million in stimulus funds. Of those, more than 11,500 vehicles have been delivered to agencies."

"GSA has sold about 4,500 of the older vehicles that have been traded, generating $13 million from the sales. That averages out to about $3,000 per vehicle, which is roughly a third more than what GSA projected it would receive per vehicle."

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Ex-Foreign Service Officer Takes Your Questions: Matthew Hoh will take questions from Post readers at 1 p.m ET. He's the first U.S. official known to resign in protest over the Afghan war.

More Obama Nominees Announced, Confirmed: The president taps Philip E. Coyle III to serve as associate director for national security and international affairs at the Office of Science and Technology Policy, and Lawrence G. Romo to serve as director of the Selective Service System. The nominee for TSA administrator, Erroll G. Southers, earned confirmation from the Senate Commerce Committee, but still needs clearance from the Senate Homeland Security Committee. Follow all of Obama's nominees with The Post's Head Count.

Cabinet and Staff News: First Lady Michelle Obama and Second Lady Jill Biden will visit a VA hospital in the Bronx Wednesday before attending Game One of the World Series. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is in Pakistan. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius hold a news briefing at 12:30 p.m. to update the government's H1N1 preparations. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. meets with his European counterparts at the Swedish embassy this afternoon to discuss counterterrorism, organized crime, human trafficking, sexual exploitation of children, information exchange and data protection. Energy Secretary Steven Chu hosts a Clean Energy Economy Forum at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building. Pay Czar Kenneth Feinberg increased base pay at bailout firms. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke recently enjoyed an expensive California spa.

Espionage suspect has friends puzzled: By all accounts, Stewart D. Nozette is a brilliant and creative scientist, an astronomer who once sketched a key part of a lunar mission on the back of a cocktail napkin and daydreamed of colonizing the moon.

U.S. deputy marshal is sentenced to 4 years: John T. Ambrose was convicted in April of stealing government property and violating the secrecy of the Witness Security Program -- the network of bodyguards and safe houses used to protect witnesses in mob and terrorism cases.

Flu-wary telecommuters may clog Web networks: The Government Accountability Office reported earlier this week that if the flu reaches a pandemic, a surge in telecommuting and children accessing video files and games at home could bog down local networks.

FAA revokes licenses of wayward Northwest pilots: The pilots told safety investigators they were working on their personal laptop computers and lost track of time and place.

EPA proposes tougher pollution controls, narrows target group: The so-called "tailoring rule" would apply the Clean Air Act to power plants and other sources that emit at least 25,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions each year.

NASA test launch postponed: The agency will try again Wednesday morning when forecasts put the chances of favorable weather at 60 percent, up from 40 percent Tuesday.

9/11 exercise broke no policies, Coast Guard finds: Holding a training exercise near the Pentagon on the anniversary of the terrorist attacks was ill-advised, an internal review found.

Rain doesn't deter feds from fitness campaign kickoff: The rally -- headlined by a former National Football League star and Obama administration officials -- was the first of many wellness-related events that OPM is organizing nationwide.

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By Ed O'Keefe  | October 27, 2009; 6:30 PM ET
Categories:  Eye Opener  
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