Obama calls on US companies to use electric, hybrid vehicles

The White House announced Friday that several major companies have agreed to participate in the program, including AT&T, FedEx, PepsiCo, UPS and Verizon.

The five companies own 275,000 vehicles in the United States and their participation in the partnership will put 20,000 electric or hybrid vehicles on the road, the White House said.

It’s the second time in a week that Obama has made high-profile remarks on energy policy and the White House has said it plans to focus much of its attention in the coming months on energy security.

Obama called Wednesday for reducing the country’s oil imports by one-third by 2025.

The vehicle partnership will help reduce the country’s oil dependence — the White House notes there are 3 million commercial vehicles on the road. But the proposal will also help create a greater demand for alternative vehicles, which have faced sluggish sales in the United States.

“We’ve got to show automakers and truck manufacturers that there’s a real market for these vehicles,” Obama said.

The administration has put forth a number of initiatives to make vehicles more fuel efficient, including new standards for model-year 2012-2016 light-duty cars and trucks. Fuel efficiency standards for model year 2017-2025 light-duty vehicles are expected in the coming months.

Obama has also set a goal of transitioning the entire federal fleet to fuel-efficient vehicles by 2015.