GSA Urged to Make Alt-Fuel Vehicles a Priority in $1.5B Delivery Deal

An upcoming five-year government-wide contract for package delivery services is a prime opportunity for the Obama administration to make good on commitments to reduce the U.S.' oil dependence and cut greenhouse-gas emissions related to contract transportation services, says the American Clean Skies Foundation (ACSF), a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit group.

In a June 24 letter to the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), the ACSF urged Acting Administrator Daniel M. Tangherlini to require the overnight delivery vendor that wins the government's new business – which could be worth over $1.5 billion from 2014 to 2018 – to meet annual targets for reducing emissions, cutting petroleum and increasing the use of alternative fuel vehicles. The ACSF also suggested that GSA consider providing contract incentives based on the vendor's environmental performance.

‘The leading overnight delivery services – UPS and FedEx – have both begun to integrate alternative fuel vehicles into their fleets,’ said Gregory C. Staple, the foundation's CEO. ‘However, as a major customer, we think the federal government can encourage a more rapid expansion of these electric and natural gas vehicles while cutting spending at the same time.’

Staple noted that, at a June 10 Washington workshop hosted by ACSF, GSA and 12 other federal agencies were briefed on the savings several Fortune 500 companies, including PepsiCo Frito-Lay, Owens Corning, and Procter & Gamble, expected from contracting with trucking services that used fleets powered by alternative fuel vehicles.

The GSA solicitation addressed by the ACSF is the third-generation contract, known as Domestic Delivery Service or DDS3, for express and ground shipping of an estimated 15 million to 35 million packages annually from federal agencies. FedEx won the first such contract, and UPS was awarded the current DDS2 contract in 2009, which expires in September 2014. GSA is expected to advertise the DDS3 opportunity later this summer.

The ACSF said that its proposed contract terms are supported by President Barck Obama's executive orders on emission and petroleum reduction, especially Executive Order 13514 on Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy and Economic Performance. That order, issued in 2009, requires every agency to adopt a sustainability plan with annual performance targets for reduced emission and petroleum use, and to ensure that their vendors are energy efficient and environmentally preferable.

The ACSF's full letter is available here.

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