VIRGINIA BEACH, VA – In an effort to lower budget costs, Virginia Beach officials recently formed an advisory group to reorganize management of the city’s 2,000-plus passenger vehicle fleet, reports the Virginia Pilot. The group has responded by downsizing the fleet and introducing more cost-effective automobiles. So far, it has auctioned off 117 loaner vehicles and stripped 70 more of take-home privileges. They have also introduced 12 hybrid cars, one electric car, and are considering replacing SUVs with more fuel-efficient sedans.

Car allowances present another option. But according to Don Unmussig, former administrator of Virginia’s centralized fleet, this policy may cost the government more money than it saves.

Currently, Virginia Beach has no clear standards defining how many miles a car must be driven in order to be considered useful to the fleet. Setting up such conditions for Virginia Beach also falls on the advisory group’s agenda, according to the Virginia Pilot.

The state recently hired Mercury Associates, a Maryland-based consulting firm, to work with its Office of Fleet Management Services.