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Biden administration releases guidelines on government employees' work commutes: 'The opportunity to lead by example'

Appropriate infrastructure is required to make this policy more feasible.

Appropriate infrastructure is required to make this policy more feasible.

Photo Credit: iStock

The Biden administration has issued guidelines for federal employees' options regarding work-based travel, and it should be a boost for the environment. 

As CleanTechnica summarized, the rules apply in both domestic and international settings, and they call on government employees to prioritize sustainable transportation methods to reduce the production of planet-warming pollution. It also said this policy "will result in the Federal Government's saving taxpayer dollars."

Among the guidelines, the government asks employees to rent electric vehicles for short-distance travel and use trains rather than planes for any trip under 250 miles.

Meanwhile, when traveling locally, buses, subway networks, and light rail should be used instead of single-seater transport. If available, electric vehicles from ride-sharing platforms would be an appropriate alternative.

According to CleanTechnica, travel is responsible for 1.8% of federal pollution, and existing transportation preferences don't favor sustainable methods.

Indeed, 2.8 million flights were taken by federal staff in 2022, while 2.3 million cars were rented. However, just 33,000 rail trips were undertaken, even though this is a far more sustainable way to travel than the previous two methods. 

"As the Nation's largest employer, the Federal Government has the opportunity to lead by example, encourage private sector investment, and expand the economy and American industry by transforming its operations to deliver an equitable, clean energy future," a message from the Executive Office of the President read. 

The Biden administration has made some progress regarding cleaner travel within its ranks already, with CleanTechnica noting that 14,000 vehicles that produce zero tailpipe pollution have been purchased and 5,500 charging ports have been installed.

But with the country embarking on an aggressive charge to a carbon-neutral future, encouraged by the Inflation Reduction Act, among other policies, the government is keen to prove it is doing its part to stop global temperatures from rising at an unsustainable rate.

As some in CleanTechnica's comments section noted, appropriate infrastructure is required to make this policy more feasible. The United States lags behind other countries in terms of high-speed rail, for example, which can be a viable option for long-distance travel instead of polluting short-haul flights.

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