DES MOINES, IA – Allowing agencies that once used the state vehicle fleet to now choose between state services, private garages, or rental companies has improved services provided by the government fleet, according to the Omaha World-Herald newspaper. “We have to sharpen our pencils, provide the best quality, the best price,” Mollie Anderson told the newspaper. Anderson oversees the fleet as Iowa’s administrative services director. To qualify for a fleet vehicle, state employees must drive at least 10,500 miles each year. This often includes nursing home and agricultural inspectors, law enforcement officers, fire marshal staff, and child welfare workers. Dale Schroeder, who manages operations for the 2,620-vehicle fleet, said he has an annual budget of about $14.3 million for administrative costs, vehicle maintenance, replacement, fuel, and insurance. As many as 525 vehicles are replaced each year and each must be at least 10 years old or have 98,000 miles, said Schroeder. Competition from the private sector has forced the state fleet to place more emphasis on customer service and convenience, state officials told the World-Herald.