Policy and Progress: The State Fleet Roadmap to Zero-Emission Vehicles

Posted by Elizabeth Stears on May 8, 2024 10:00:00 AM

Saving Taxpayer Dollars by Electrifying State Fleets

Across the United States, we are seeing a surge of electrified and zero-emission transportation initiatives. A growing number of states are setting ambitious targets to electrify their transportation sectors through incentives and policies to address the new technology. But for many states this transition also includes its own operations. Thirty-three states have set policies to transition their state-owned fleets to zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) through both legislative mandates and executive orders (EO’s). In spearheading the shift to cleaner transportation options, states are setting an example for their residents while also capitalizing on benefits and savings taxpayers' dollars via reduced fuel and maintenance needs, lower emissions, and improved air quality. 

There are many benefits of transitioning state fleets to electric and zero-emission vehicles. Government fleet vehicles, with their regular driving patterns, high mileage demands, and centralized depot facilities, are prime candidates for electrification. Electrifying these fleets can lead to significant savings, as fueling vehicles with electricity is considerably less expensive per mile compared to gasoline. This is particularly advantageous for state fleets that cover high vehicle miles. Moreover, the predictable charging needs of these fleets allow for charging during off-peak hours resulting in additional cost reductions. Electric vehicles, with fewer moving parts than their internal combustion counterparts, also incur lower maintenance costs –Consumer Reports found that on average, gasoline vehicle maintenance and repair is roughly double that of electric vehicles.  

To capitalize on these advantages, states are adopting a range of policy strategies. We have compiled a comprehensive list of these policies (see table at the end of this post) to identify the states leading this transition and to highlight the variety of policy strategies being adopted. These include establishing requirements for state procurement of zero-emission vehicles, setting preferences for EVs and other zero-emission vehicles, and evolving state procurement processes.  State Fleet Electrification Map

Zero-Emission Vehicle Policy Goals 

Acknowledging the many benefits of a zero-emission vehicle fleet, a growing number of states have set ambitious targets to transition their fleet to zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) through both legislative mandates and executive orders (EO’s).  

By 2025, Oregon (HB3550) will require state agencies to acquire exclusively ZEVs for all new light-duty vehicles. In tandem, Pennsylvania (EO 2019-01) and Rhode Island (EO15-17) aim to transform 25% of new light-duty state fleet purchases to ZEVs by the same year. The District of Columbia (B24-0267) has set a goal for 100% ZEV procurement starting in 2026. Further solidifying this trend, President Biden’s Executive Order (14057) requires all federal agency vehicle acquisitions be ZEVs by 2027. 

Connecticut (EO21-3), Illinois (SB1769), and Hawaii (SB920) each require that state fleets to achieve 100% ZEVs for light-duty vehicles by 2030. Washington (EO21-04) and New Jersey (S2252) and New York (S01346) have also required that all state agency light-duty vehicles to be zero-emission by 2035. Following close behind, Maryland (SB528) requires all passenger cars in state fleets to be ZEVs by 2036, with Maine (LD1579) aiming for a complete state fleet transition to ZEVs by 2040. Massachusetts (EO594) envisions a fully ZEV state fleet by 2050.   

Total Cost of Ownership Calculators 

As stewards of state tax revenue, administrative procurement agencies and state legislatures are placing a strong emphasis on the cost savings of electric vehicles (EVs) and other zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) technologies. This focus is becoming a key part of their vehicle purchasing processes. 

Zero-emission vehicles may sometimes have a higher initial cost, but often offer lower total cost of ownership over the lifetime of the vehicle due to savings in operation, fueling, and maintenance. To account for these varying costs and benefits, multiple states are now using a total cost of ownership (TCO) calculator when they procure vehicles. This tool starts a new phase of more comprehensive procurement decision-making by considering the full lifetime cost of a vehicle, not just the upfront sticker price. This includes all costs, such as fuel consumption, maintenance expenses, and sometimes even pollution impacts which have a public health cost. 

By quantifying these lifetime expenses, state agencies can ensure taxpayer dollars are spent efficiently by selecting vehicles with the highest long-term value and savings. Moreover, TCO calculators foster transparency and accountability in public spending, offering a clear-eyed view of the true investment and costs of state fleets. This helps make things more open and responsible to the public. 

California (SB1305) enacted in 2022, mandates that the Department of General Services escalate the procurement of alternative fuel vehicles and apply a TCO calculation that includes greenhouse gas and air pollutant reductions. That same year, Virginia (SB575), began to require a TCO calculator in state fleet procurement. Nevada (AB262) followed suit and implemented a total cost of ownership calculator into their state vehicle procurement process. In March of this year, Indiana signed legislation (HB1194), directing state agencies to acquire clean energy vehicles based on TCO evaluations – a policy projected to save Indiana taxpayers $62.4 million over 15 years 

Embracing Alternative Fuel Options 

While not all states have yet specified ZEV adoption targets, or TCO requirements, a growing number are implementing policies that prioritize and otherwise champion ZEVs, EVs, and alternative fuel vehicles.  

For example, several states have given preference to alternative fuel vehicles during vehicle procurement, such as Delaware (EO 18), Maine (EO13), Minnesota (EO19-27), New Hampshire (EO 2016-03), and North Carolina (EO 271), each with varying degrees of commitment to decreasing reliance on fossil fuels and increasing the use of EVs, hybrids, and alternative fuel vehicles.  

Keeping Up with Changing Policy 

State governments are leading by example in the transition to electric and zero-emission vehicles, utilizing vehicle procurement as a powerful tool to accelerate market growth.  Keep following Advanced Energy United on EV developments in your state. To track legislation and regulatory dockets in all 50 states, Congress, and FERC, sign up for a free trial of United’s Insight Engine by clicking below.  

 State Electrification Policies



Year Signed Into Law 

Policy Summary 


Alaska Statutes 44.42.020 


The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities must purchase or convert to vehicles that operate using alternative fuels whenever practical.  


 SB 498  


50% of light-duty vehicles purchased for the state fleet each year must be ZEV.  Codifies EO B-16-12 


AB 739 


Beginning 2025, at least 15% of newly purchased vehicles over 19,000lbs purchased by state entities must be ZEV 





The Department of General Services must, by 2023, maximize the purchase and availability of alternative fuel vehicles in the state fleet and adopt a total cost of ownership calculation method that also includes the reduction of GHG and air pollutants. 


Colorado Electric Vehicle Plan 


The state must prioritize purchase of ZEVs for light-duty applications. 100% of state vehicles must be EVs (that have appropriate use cases) by 2030. 


Executive Order D 2022 016 


Agencies are required to purchase BEVs when BEVs meet the Agency's or Department's operation needs and infrastructure is in place or planned to be in place prior to vehicles arriving. Agencies and Departments must ensure that EVs (BEVs and PHEVs) are the default for all light-duty vehicles for future vehicle purchase.  


SB 4  


The state is required to purchase 100% BEV cars and trucks by 2030. 30% of state procured buses must be ZEV by 2030.  


Clean Energy DC Omnibus Amendment Act 


Public buses, passenger- and light-duty vehicles must be zero-emission by 2045.  




Beginning in 2026, the DC government must purchase or lease only ZEV. 


Executive Order 18 


All new light-duty vehicles state agencies, departments, and offices purchased must be hybrid electric, alternative fuel, fuel-efficient, or low emission vehicles.  


Executive Order 14057 


100% zero-emission vehicle acquisitions by 2035, including 100 percent zero-emission light-duty vehicle acquisitions by 2027 


SB 920 


Establishes clean ground transportation goals for state agencies to achieve a one hundred percent light-duty motor vehicles zero-emission fleet by December 31, 2030. 


EO 2021-08 


Creates a vehicle procurement program for ZEVs, creates a state fleet working group, and mandates agencies to evaluate fleet vehicles using TCO.  




All passenger vehicles purchased or leased by a government unit, except for law enforcement vehicles, to be manufactured or converted to zero-emission vehicles, beginning on January 1, 2030. 




A state entity that purchases or leases a vehicle must purchase or lease a clean energy vehicle unless the Indiana Department of Administration determines that: 1) the purchase or lease of a clean energy vehicle is inappropriate because of the purpose of the vehicle; or 2) the total cost of ownership of a clean energy vehicle is substantially more than the cost of a vehicle that is not a clean energy vehicle. 


 SB 281  


By January 1, 2026, the Kentucky Finance and Administration Cabinet must increase the use alternative transportation fuels and replace at least 50% of light-duty state fleet vehicles with new AFVs or vehicles equipped with low-emission technology.  


LA Revised Statute 39:364 


The Commissioner of Administration is required to purchase and/or lease alternative fueled vehicles unless fueling infrastructure is not available in the area where the vehicles will operate. 


Executive Order 594 


100% of the total fleet must consist of Zero Emission Vehicles in fiscal year 2050.  


SB 528 



100% of passenger cars in state fleet must be ZEV by 2031 and other light-duty fleet vehicles by 2036 


Gov Mill's EO 13 



Agencies must prioritize lowering employee vehicle mileage, adopting EVS, and installing EVSE on state property.  




All state fleet vehicles must be ZEV by 2040 




Michigan will refrain from intervening in the free market to transition the state's vehicle fleet from ICE vehicles to EVs and instead will allow free market forces to determine the fleet's makeup.  


Executive Order 19-27 



Requires the state to implement appropriate strategies to meet the State's Sustainability Goals while accomplishing core responsibilities, and this includes increasing the number of hybrid and electric vehicles in the State's fleet. 


Executive Order 271, 2022 


Cabinet agencies must prioritize ZEVs in the purchase or lease of new MHD vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating greater than 8,500 pounds. 


Executive Order 2016-03 


The state must pursue EV procurement opportunities for in the state fleet and install EV charging stations for use by state agencies.  




Requires the following for the State fleet: At least 25% of State-owned non-emergency light duty vehicles shall be plug-in electric by December 31, 2025 and 100% of these vehicles must be plug-in electric by the end of 2035.  


Executive Order 2023-138 


All state agencies must acquire ZEVs for all new vehicle acquisitions where one or more ZEV options for the appropriate class of vehicle are available 




Each department, office, bureau, officer, or employee of the State must give preference to automobiles that minimize emissions and total cost of ownership when purchasing an automobile. 


State Zero-Emission Vehicle Programs Memorandum of Understanding 


Requires that 25% of light-duty non-emergency vehicle purchases be ZEVs by 2025, and government agencies install supporting charging stations. 




All state agency light-duty non-emergency vehicles must be zero-emission vehicles (ZEV) by 2035 and all state agency medium- and heavy-duty vehicles must be ZEV by 2040, unless a ZEV is not feasible for a particular application. 


Ohio Revised Code 125.831-125.836 



Except for law enforcement vehicles, all newly acquired state agency vehicles must be capable of using an alternative fuel and must use the relevant alternative fuel if it is reasonably priced and available. Alternative fuel is defined as any fuel containing 85% or more ethanol (E85), fuel blends containing at least 20% biodiesel (B20), natural gas, propane, hydrogen, electricity, or any other fuel that the U.S. Department of Energy has determined is substantially not petroleum. 




A state agency that purchases or leases a new light-duty vehicle is required  to purchase or lease only zero-emission vehicles (ZEV) by 2025. 


Executive Order 2019-01 


25% of passenger cars in state fleet must be plug-in electric hybrid by 2025 


Executive Order 15-17 


A minimum of 25% of new light-duty state fleet purchases and leases will be ZEV by 2025.  


South Carolina Code of Laws 1-11-310 


State agencies purchasing motor vehicles must give preference to hybrid, plug-in hybrid electric, biodiesel, hydrogen, fuel cell, or flexible fuel vehicles when the performance, quality, and anticipated life cycle costs are comparable to other available motor vehicles. 


Tennessee Code Annotated 4-3-1109 


100% of newly purchased passenger vehicles for the state fleet must be energy-efficient or alternative fuel vehicles.  


Texas Statutes, Government Code 2158.004-2158.009 


State agency fleets with more than 15 vehicles, excluding emergency and law enforcement vehicles, may not purchase or lease a motor vehicle unless the vehicle uses natural gas, propane, ethanol or fuel blends of at least 85% ethanol (E85), methanol or fuel blends of at least 85% methanol (M85), biodiesel or fuel blends of at least 20% biodiesel (B20), or electricity (including plug-in hybrid electric vehicles).  


Utah Code 63A-9-401 and 63A-9-403 


At least 50% of new or replacement light-duty state agency vehicles must meet Bin 2 emissions standards established in Title 40 of the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations, or be propelled to a significant extent by electricity, natural gas, propane, hydrogen, or biodiesel. 




Requires use of TCO calculator beginning Jan 2023.  




Requires, to the maximum extent practicable, that the Commissioner purchase or lease hybrid or plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs), with not less than 75 percent of the vehicles purchased or leased being hybrid or PEVs. 


Executive Order 21-04 


Requires state executive and small cabinet agencies to procure battery electric vehicles (BEVs) so that 40% of light duty fleets are BEVs by 2025, 75% by 2030, and 100% by 2035.  


Topics: State Policy, Advanced Transportation



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