The Department for Work and Pensions, which initiated the deal, expects to cut its carbon emissions by 4,500 tonnes and save £5 million over the next four years.
With the help of the Treasury’s Office of Government Commerce it has persuaded another 37 departments and organisations to take part. They include the Environment Agency, the Environment Department (DEFRA) and several national parks and councils.
The vehicles will be supplied by 15 manufacturers and include at least two hybrids.
Departments can chose a mixture of vehicles to suit their needs but the OGC expects them to use the deal to help meet the government’s target to reduce vehicle emissions by 15% from 2005/06 levels by 2010/11.
The OGC argues the savings available will make buying cleaner models easier for departments to justify. It has developed a software package that will allow departments to calculate and optimise fleet running costs and carbon footprints.
Overall, the programme is expected to deliver 78,000 cars over four years for about £1 billion and save taxpayers £100 million.