Automakers are waiting for a tangible demand before they commit their considerable resources away from gasoline cars and toward alternatively fueled vehicles. Governmental, commercial and private fleets have a compelling volume purchasing power and could supply that demand, according to the San Francisco Chronicle
. Today, alternative fuel vehicles are primed for widespread commercial and private use. Green fleet initiatives would spark competition among all truck and heavy-duty vehicle manufacturers to be the first to fill those orders. Volume purchasing would multiply and accelerate the technology, bring down costs and spread alt-fuel vehicles swiftly from commercial fleets to average consumers. For-hire carriers, such as UPS, Federal Express and Yellow Roadway, in 2004 operated 675,000 trucks and about 6 million additional vehicles are owned by private commercial fleets such as Sysco, Wal-Mart, Halliburton and Frito-Lay. City, state and federal agencies, as well as universities, comprise just a fraction of America's 38,000 private fleets. The federal government itself maintains America's single largest fleet by far—about 600,000 vehicles—but has been largely negligent in following its own alternative-fuel guidelines, the San Francisco Chronicle
reports. The mandate requires that 75 percent of all vehicle purchases by federal agencies use alternative fuels.