The U.S. government will double its fleet of hybrid-electric vehicles this year and will purchase about 100 plug-in hybrid vehicles in 2011.

President Obama says the commitment to HEVs and PHEVs represents a move by the government to lead by example when it comes to reducing America’s dependence on foreign oil and carbon-dioxide emissions. In October, Obama called on government agencies to cut petroleum use 30% by 2020.

But it also will be a shot-in-the-arm for some car makers, including the partially government-owned General Motors Corp. and potentially Chrysler Group LLC.

GM will launch its plug-in Volt model later this year, and the White House has said the U.S. government will buy the first 100 of the cars that roll off the assembly line later this year.

Chrysler revealed last week it would put a plug-in Ram pickup on the market in 2011.

Using existing funds, the General Services Admin. is expected to replace 5,603 of the government’s least fuel-efficient vehicles with hybrid models this year. That will double the number of hybrids in use without increasing the size of the fleet overall. It also will cut fuel use by 7.7 million gallons (29.1 million L), the Department of Energy says.