Government Fleet Top News

Federal Vehicles a Driving Factor in Government Waste

August 25, 2004

WASHINGTON, D.C. — In a report on August 6, by Senator Susan Collins of Maine, Chairman, Senate Governmental Affairs Committee, the federal government spends more than a billion dollars each year to maintain a fleet of vehicles, some of which it doesn’t need.This wasteful spending was documented in a recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) report. According to the GAO, federal agencies spend approximately $1.7 billion annually to operate a fleet of about 387,000 vehicles. GAO found that many federal agencies could not justify the number of vehicles they owned given what they needed to conduct their missions.In one example, the Department of Interior Inspector General reported that a significant portion of the 36,000 vehicles owned by that Department were underused and estimated savings of $34 million annually if the excess vehicles were disposed of. In another example, a car had been parked behind a Veterans Affairs building since it was bought four years earlier. The vehicle had never been used; in fact, its keys were missing. In 1986, in response to reports of wasteful spending, Congress enacted legislation requiring federal agencies to keep better tabs on their vehicles through improved management and cost reductions. In 1994, GAO followed up with a study to determine how well federal agencies were following the law. GAO found that many agencies were not in compliance. In recent months, the General Services Administration (GSA) and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) have taken actions to require agencies to better manage their fleets. Under the new guidelines, agencies will be required to appoint a senior manager to oversee all aspects of fleet management, including costs and budget, to periodically review fleet size, and to invest in better fleet record-keeping systems.

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