Kern County, Calif., expects to save $2 million in vehicle maintenance and replacement costs over the next five years by leasing its fleet vehicles, according to a release from Enterprise Fleet Management, its leasing partner.

Kern County had experienced eight consecutive years of significant cuts to its fleet management budget. The cuts forced the county to keep vehicles in its fleet well beyond 10 years, which led to increased maintenance fees, longer downtime for vehicles, lower gas mileage, and higher emissions, as well as reliability and safety concerns.

“Without the capital to purchase new vehicles, we started looking at leasing options,” said Sandi Formhals, Kern County Senior Chief Administrative Officer Manager. She said the leasing program took into account the total cost of ownership, including maintenance, downtime, fuel efficiency, and resale.

The department makes a lower monthly lease payment than the county fleet maintenance rate. Another cost savings is in optimizing the replacement time of the vehicle, allowing the county to recoup more in remarketing funds. Additionally, Enterprise’s many service locations allow drivers to get their vehicles serviced in other areas besides the single fleet maintenance garage.

As part of the initial pilot program, Enterprise Fleet Management helped Kern County acquire and manage a fleet of 111 vehicles. The county has more than 350 10-year-old vehicles in its fleet and anticipates even greater cost savings as the program is scaled in the future.

The California State Association of Counties (CSAC) recognized Kern County with a 2018 Merit Award for its leasing partnership with Enterprise Fleet Management. The CSAC Challenge Awards recognize the innovative and creative spirit of California county governments as they find new and effective ways of providing programs and services to their citizens.

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