The Army has cut almost 12,000 vehicles out of its fleet since its peak in 2009, including cars, tractors, ambulances and other non-combat vehicles. In addition, the service reached its goal for alternative energy vehicles eight years early.
Edward Moscatelli, chief of transportation in the Army’s Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff for Installation Management, told The Federal Drive with Tom Temin and Emily Kopp Tuesday thousands more vehicles could still be cut.
“We had peak of 82,860 vehicles in fiscal year 2009,” he said. “As of the end of fiscal year ’12, we’re down to 70,800-plus vehicles, approximately 12,000 vehicle reduction at this time.”
Moscatelli added the Army estimates it could reduce its force by 3,000 more vehicles as the service reduces its size due to the drawdown in Afghanistan.
“Every year, we go through a process to reduce the size of the fleet,” he said. “We want to optimize the fleet. We don’t want to have excess laying around.” Part of this overall strategy is to get away from the practice of assigning vehicles to particular individuals.
“Usually, we have vehicles that are general dispatch,” Moscatelli said. “They’re available each day for whoever needs them, and what we will try to do is provide certain commands — the headquarters element — a small number of vehicles that are dispatched to them on a daily basis for general use. So, the general may use it one time. It may be used by someone else in his staff the next time.”
Army fleet goes green
As the Army reduces the number of vehicles in its fleet, it’s also creating a “greener” fleet by introducing more vehicles that don’t rely on fossil fuels.
“We’re really happy with the hybrids and the plug-in electric vehicles and the fully electric vehicles that are on the horizon,” Moscatelli said. “Our biggest thing is to make sure that we get a sufficient number of these vehicles to really impact on our use of fossil fuel. We’re driving down the use of fossil fuel to the point where, in this past year, we’re at a 28.5 percent reduction from the 2005 baseline. And that is close to the 2020 requirement of a 30 percent reduction.”
The Army has been able to achieve these reductions through its regular process of replacing older vehicles with newer, more fuel-efficient models. “That means, we’re pushing for hybrids, where hybrids are a smart thing to do,” he said. “Where they aren’t, we go with low greenhouse gas vehicles, which, in most cases, double the mileage on a normal gas engine.”
In the private sector, when someone trades up to a hybrid or another environmentally friendly vehicle, they may end up paying more for a green vehicle rather than the standard “gas guzzler.”
Approximately 84 percent of the vehicle the Army has are leased from the Government Services Administration. The service works with GSA to amortize the cost of the hybrids and electric vehicles over a longer period of time in order to keep the costs down.
“What we’re trying to do is keep the monthly lease rate the same as a normal, gas-engine vehicle,” Moscatelli said. “And, at the same time, taking the cost of that hybrid and amortizing it over a longer period of time, which is good for them, because the hybrid, in the secondary market, we figure around five years, is going to hit its peak, so that they can get as much money back on the secondary as they can. For us, it’s a steady lease rate for us every month so that our bill does not fluctuate that greatly.”
In two years, Moscatelli expects the Army vehicle fleet will be made up predominately of hybrid, electric and low-greenhouse-gas vehicles.
“Based on the rules we utilize, we expect the fossil-fuel consumption will still decrease, but it won’t decrease as much as it has right now until we go to an all electric fleet, which is probably several years down the road,” he said.
Tom Temin is the host of The Federal Drive, which airs from 6-9 a.m. on 1500 AM in the Washington, DC region and online everywhere. Tom has 30 years experience in journalism, mostly in technology markets. Before coming to Federal News Radio, he was a long-serving editor-in-chief of Government Computer News and Washington Technology magazines.