WASHINGTON – Two U.S. Senators, Tom Coburn, M.C. (R.-OK) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) introduced a bill that would reduce the federal fleet’s vehicle budget by 20 percent. According to a news release from Shaheen’s website, if passed, this bill would reducing the amount the federal government can spend on buying and leasing non-essential vehicles and save approximately $500 million.
The federal fleet operates 662,000 vehicles and consume more than 1 million gallons of fuel daily. The release states that since 2006, the budget for vehicles owned or leased by the federal government has increased by a total of $1 billion.
This bill follows on the heels of a memorandum from President Obama that mandates federal agencies right-size their fleets and purchase alternative fuel vehicles.
“At a time when Americans have to stretch their dollars to fill up their gas tanks, it is wrong for the federal government to waste millions of dollars on non-essential federal vehicles. Enacting the recommendation of the president’s own debt commission to reduce the number of vehicles deemed non-essential should be an easy step. We simply can’t afford to spend money we don’t have on things we don’t need,” Coburn said.
The proposed bill would ask the Inspector General for each federal agency to review use of their vehicles to find more areas where each agency can save.
“This is a commonsense place for us to cut wasteful spending,” Shaheen said. “The government’s vehicle budget has grown considerably over the last several years, and it just doesn’t make sense. There’s no reason for some of these agencies to own fleets of SUVs, which are expensive to own and to operate. The government can get by with fewer vehicles.”