Promise to Convert White House Vehicle Fleet to Plug-Ins Still Unkept

Presidential campaign pledge now more than one year past its self-imposed deadline.

Published: 14-Jan-2011

During the presidential campaign, Barack Obama promised that "within one year of becoming president, the entire White House fleet will be converted to plug-ins as security permits." In late 2009 -- about 11 months into his presidency and one month before his self-imposed deadline -- we rated the promise In the Works, based on White House assurances that an ongoing update of the automotive fleet was being done in an environmentally sensitive fashion.

The White House says that installation of the electrical infrastructure to make this happen is under way as part of a major utility upgrade at the White House. "Electrical infrastructure for vehicle charging stations for government owned plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles is in the process of being installed on the White House campus,” said White House spokeswoman Katherine Bedingfield.

Still, when it made this promise, the White House set a specific timetable, even though the state of the technology and the commercial market -- not to mention the special security requirements of carrying the president and foreign leaders -- all but guaranteed that it would be a nonstarter from the moment Obama made the promise.

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