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EISA Section 141 Statutory Requirements for Acquiring Low Greenhouse Gas-Emitting Vehicles

Section 141 of the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA0 of 2007 (42 U.S.C. § 13212(f)(2)) says:

"(A) In general

Except as provided in subparagraph (B), no Federal agency shall acquire a light duty motor vehicle or medium duty passenger vehicle that is not a low greenhouse gas emitting vehicle.

(B) Exception

The prohibition in subparagraph (A) shall not apply to acquisition of a vehicle if the head of the agency certifies in writing, in a separate certification for each individual vehicle purchased, either—

(i) that no low greenhouse gas emitting vehicle is available to meet the functional needs of the agency and details in writing the functional needs that could not be met with a low greenhouse gas emitting vehicle; or

(ii) that the agency has taken specific alternative more cost-effective measures to reduce petroleum consumption that—

(I) have reduced a measured and verified quantity of greenhouse gas emissions equal to or greater than the quantity of greenhouse gas reductions that would have been achieved through acquisition of a low greenhouse gas emitting vehicle over the lifetime of the vehicle; or

(II) will reduce each year a measured and verified quantity of greenhouse gas emissions equal to or greater than the quantity of greenhouse gas reductions that would have been achieved each year through acquisition of a low greenhouse gas emitting vehicle."

EISA Section 141 Applicability

Vehicles Subject to the EISA Section 141 Requirements

Light-duty vehicles (LDVs) include passenger cars, pickup trucks, minivans, passenger vans, and sport-utility vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) less than 8,500 lbs.

Medium-duty passenger vehicles (MDPVs) include vehicles with a GVWR between 8,500 and 10,000 lbs designed primarily to transport persons.

Vehicles subject to the EISA Section 141 low greenhouse gas (GHG) emitting vehicle acquisition requirements include all LDVs and MDPVs within an agency's fleet (including the General Services Administration [GSA] or agency owned or leased vehicles) that are:

  • Acquired by a Federal agency
  • Manufactured to be sold in the United States, including territories and possessions of the United States, and those shipped overseas for operation.

Vehicles Not Subject to the EISA Section 141 Requirements

The table below lists the vehicles not subject to the EISA Section 141 low GHG-emitting vehicle acquisition reduction requirements.

Vehicles Not Subject to the Low Greenhouse Gas-Emitting Vehicle Acquisition Requirements
All motor vehicles with a GVWR greater than 10,000 lbs
Pickup trucks and non-passenger vans over 8,500 lbs GVWR
Medium-duty vehicles designed to transport either 12 or more passengers or nine or more passengers rearward of the driver’s seat or with an open cargo area of 72 inches in interior length or more
Contractor- or subcontractor-owned vehicles
Low-speed vehicles, including neighborhood electric vehicles (NEVs)
Vehicles manufactured for sale outside the United States
Vehicles forfeited to or confiscated by LE agencies

No acquisitions of LDVs or MDPVs that are manufactured to be sold in the United States may be exempted from the EISA Section 141 requirements (e.g., LE or emergency response vehicles).

See the Applicability page for more information.

FEMP Resources and Best Practices

Summary of Requirements

Model of a Chevy Spark.

Section 141 of EISA (42 U.S.C. § 13212(f)(2)) prohibits, with certain exceptions, Federal agencies from acquiring LDVs and MDPVs that are not low GHG-emitting vehicles. To assist Federal agencies in the purchase of low GHG-emitting vehicles, EISA Section 141 directs the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator to define what a low GHG-emitting vehicle is and to identify annually the makes and models of such vehicles.

EPA's Guidance for Implementing Section 141 of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 explains the criteria EPA uses to identify low GHG-emitting vehicles and provides the necessary information and resources for Federal agencies to implement EISA Section 141. This section provides an overview of the EISA Section 141 requirement, which ultimately supports the goal of reducing Federal fleet petroleum use.

Section 141 of EISA amends the Federal fleet vehicle acquisition requirements of EPAct 1992 by prohibiting Federal agencies from acquiring LDVs and MDPVs that are not low GHG-emitting vehicles. EISA Section 141 allows for two exceptions to the prohibition, which are further described below.

How Is a Low GHG-Emitting Vehicle Defined?

Section 141 of EISA directs EPA to define "low GHG-emitting vehicle" and to annually identify the makes and models of such vehicles. For model year 2013 vehicles and later, EISA Section 141 compliance levels are based on maximum gallon-per-mile CO2 emissions levels for each model year. EPA establishes the CO2 emissions level thresholds for any given model year as the levels where the (approximate) top 25% lowest GHG-emitting cars, light-duty trucks, and MDPVs are EISA Section 141 compliant (based on analysis of the previous model year vehicle data).

EPA's Federal Fleets website provides the EISA Section 141 maximum CO2 emissions levels for passenger cars, light-duty trucks, and MDPVs. The website also provides the official lists of low GHG-emitting vehicles for each model year. For model year 2012 and earlier, EISA Section 141 compliance was based on GHG scores (EPA GHG emissions ratings for cars and trucks on a scale of 1 to 10).

Complying with Section 141 Low Greenhouse Gas-Emitting Vehicles Acquisition Requirements

Section 141 specifically prohibits the acquisition of LDVs and MDPVs that are not low GHG-emitting vehicles as defined by EPA. Recognizing that Federal agencies need some flexibility to acquire vehicles for diverse applications, Section 141 of EISA allows for two exceptions to the prohibition:

  • Functional Needs Exception: Exempts individual purchases from the requirement to procure low GHG-emitting vehicles if no low GHG-emitting vehicle is available to meet the functional needs of the agency. These vehicles may include LE motor vehicles, emergency motor vehicles, motor vehicles acquired for military purposes, and vehicles used for protective services provided that no low GHG-emitting vehicle is available that meets those functions.
  • Alternative Measures Exception: Allows an agency to acquire vehicles that are not low GHG-emitting provided the agency implements measures to offset the incremental increase in GHG emissions and petroleum consumption. A range of offsetting reduction strategies are available to agency fleet managers, such as reducing vehicle miles travelled, reducing the number of vehicles owned and operated, or acquiring LSEVs to replace conventional vehicles. To use this exception an agency must not exceed its EISA GHG emissions limit. This limit is calculated as the total agency CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalents) emissions if all vehicles acquired equaled the applicable maximum CO2e emissions thresholds for EISA Section 141 compliance.

Federal Vehicle Greenhouse Gas Emissions Assessment Tool for Alternative Measures Exception

To help Federal agencies quantify and verify the aggregate GHG emissions as required by the alternative measures exception, EPA developed the GHG Assessment Tool, also available on EPA’s Federal Fleets website. The Assessment Tool is a spreadsheet-based calculator that helps Federal agencies track, quantify, and verify the GHG emissions associated with the vehicles they acquire or plan to acquire. If an agency utilizes this tool for the alternative measures exception, the head of an agency, or his or her designee(s), should certify that the Assessment Tool properly and accurately accounts for all applicable motor vehicle acquisitions completed in a FY or other acquisition cycle specified by the agency.

Reporting

Federal agencies are required to include information regarding the acquisition of low GHG-emitting vehicles in the designated field in FAST. Fleet managers must input annual vehicle data into FAST each year; the reporting period begins on roughly October 1 and closes in mid-December. GSA prefills the low GHG-emitting vehicle designation on the FAST Data Center in in Reports Carryout on the Fleet Drive-thru application for GSA-leased vehicles. Agencies should ensure customer driven data is up to date for all vehicles and can do so for GSA-leased vehicles within the GSA Fleet-Drive-thru Customer Driven Data Module. EPA reviews the information reported in FAST annually to evaluate implementation adherence to EISA Section 141 and assess the use of the exceptions described above.