HARRISBURG, PA – Shrinking the state-government vehicle fleet has generated nearly $40 million in actual and projected savings and eliminated 228 sport/utility vehicles, including nine that were used by cabinet secretaries, according to the Department of General Services, reported the Associated Press. The initiative, pushed by Gov. Ed Rendell since he took office in 2003, has cut the number of vehicles under his control by 705 to 11,724, a drop of 5.7 percent. Those numbers exclude the Department of Transportation, which participated separately in the cost-cutting initiative. The administration also is keeping vehicles longer – passenger cars are not sold until the odometer reads 80,000 miles instead of the previous threshold of 65,000 miles. Replacing sport/utility vehicles with sedans has led to lower maintenance and fuel costs, and the state collected about $1.7 million by auctioning off the unneeded vehicles. More reductions could be on the way as the administration considers whether it would be economically beneficial to keep vehicles until they have 90,000 or 100,000 miles, said David P. Yarkin, General Services deputy secretary for procurement. Rendell ordered each department to eliminate 5 percent of its fleet and 20 percent of its SUVs. The number of non-PennDOT SUVs is now 1,050, down from 1,278 in 2004. The General Services savings estimate comprises $24.9 million in lower purchase costs over the last two years from keeping vehicles longer and $1.7 million from auctioning the eliminated vehicles. The remaining $13 million in savings will be realized over five years – the life span of the average state vehicle – by having 705 fewer vehicles to buy, maintain and fuel. PennDOT currently maintains a 7,790-piece equipment inventory that includes 292 SUVs, 492 sedans, 2,293 dump trucks, and 132 forklifts. PennDOT's equipment inventory is 5 percent smaller than it was two years ago; its SUV fleet is 17 percent smaller, the department said.