POSTED: Thursday, July 30, 2009 - 10:54am

UPDATED: Wednesday, February 17, 2010 - 3:24pm

Automakers are showing their wares to one of their biggest buyers: The government...

Where does the federal government go when they are looking to buy new squad cars and other official vehicles?

This week it's Chicago and the Fed-Fleet 2009 Vehicle Show.

Much of what is on display at Fed Fleet is unique...vehicles built with a special purpose, like the Terrahawk Rolling Observation Tower.

It's most obvious use is border patrol.

"With this, you can set up anywhere on a ranch, on a road and you can see them coming across the river in some cases," explained vehicle designer John Spence.

The government will be buying 17,000 new cars and trucks this year, and they're placing a special emphasis on fuel efficiency.

The General Services Administration, the agency in charge of purchasing the vehicles, says the new vehicles will get ten percent better fuel mileage on average than the vehicles they're replacing.

There are more than 200,000 vehicles in the GSA fleet, so saving a few gallons here and there adds up to big money for the government.

The show attracts about 1,300 fleet professionals from different government agencies.

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