Survey Shows Biggest Public Fleet Concern is Vehicle Replacement Funds

December 10, 2012

MT. LAUREL, NJ - A recent policy and procedure benchmark study conducted by ARI found the biggest challenge facing government fleet managers today is obtaining capital funds for vehicle replacements. More than 60% of fleet manager respondents noted this was one of their top three concerns. The second and third largest concerns are managing fuel spend and ensuring proper maintenance/PM compliance.

“In a time when all fleets are facing tight budget constraints, it’s not a surprise that obtaining funds for vehicle replacements is a big challenge,” said Cheryl Graham, business development manager – state and government fleets at ARI. “One solution for them,” continues Graham, “is to right size their fleets, which involves completing a utilization study and functional analysis to ensure the appropriate vehicles are assigned to areas where need is greatest.”

Another notable statistic is regarding policy and safety. ARI, which provides fleet management services to many private and public sector fleets, found that generally government fleets do not have the same policy controls in place as do private fleets. Only 38% of public fleets surveyed said they required a signature of acknowledgement upon receiving a fleet policy, while 45% don’t require it and 17% have no policy at all. Further, among public fleets, only 7% of respondents said they test their employees on their understanding of fleet policy. Survey results also show that 32% of fleets do not offer driver safety training. Another difference in standard practice between private and public fleets is the use of motor vehicle records (MVRs) to identify high-risk drivers. Stats show that 44% of public fleets surveyed do not check driver MVRs.

“It’s interesting that a significant number of public fleets make the effort to draft and institute a fleet policy don’t require drivers to acknowledge receipt of it,” Said Suzanne Wilson, ARI’s market research manager. Wilson emphasized that in addition to having employees acknowledge receipt of a policy that may be in place, there are other steps public fleet managers may want to consider to improve employees’ overall knowledge of that policy, such as implementing simple online policy testing modules. “Barring any contractual or legislative obstacles, public sector fleet managers should also consider using motor vehicle record checks to identify high risk drivers,” said Wilson. “This is done fairly consistently in the private sector and can go a long way towards improving a fleets’ overall safety record.”

Policy and Safety Statistics* in Comparison to Private Sector:


Private Sector

Public Sector

Have a fleet policy



Require drivers to acknowledge policy



Test drivers on knowledge of policy



Provide safety training to drivers



Checks drivers' motor vehicle records



 *All statistics provided by ARI

Another interesting statistic is that three-quarters of respondents have a central motor pool, but only 47%have an automated system to manage these pools. This means nearly one-third of respondents are managing their motor pool manually, according to the survey.

Regarding vehicle remarketing, 45% of respondents said they hold inventory until they have enough to sell rather than selling them individually when available. Additionally, 70% remarket vehicles through a single location/vendor.

Graham added, “While fleets may have policies that dictate specific remarketing procedures, ARI has found that matching each vehicle to the best remarketing channel individually, and expanding the pool of bidders by using multiple virtual markets simultaneously, yields the best result for our clients. While it may be logistically easier to hold vehicles for sale and use a single venue for remarketing, fleets will leave large dollars on the table using this method.”

ARI conducted this survey in October, receiving more than 70 fleet manager responses. For a PDF of full survey results, send a request to [email protected].


  1. 1. doug dearinger [ December 10, 2012 @ 12:37PM ]

    i am a public fleet manager for a medium sized city and share the same issues with fleet replacment funding. while reading your article i didn't really see one thing that was helpful in securing capital replacement funds? right sizing your fleet and studying utilization are things we did when the first shoe dropped in the economy. we are now in the "no recovery get used to doing more with almost nothing" stage. what real ideas are out there?

  2. 2. Jim Zepp [ December 11, 2012 @ 05:13AM ]

    I agree with Doug, barely keeping head above water. I feel we have done everything to weather the economy but future looks bleak. We are driving existing fleet into the ground, irony is when it comes auction time what little value we get in return does not come back to vehicle purchase but to general surplus. I'll continue to keep my eyes open for a better way.


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