Feds Get Nearly $1 Billion Repair Tab for Vehicle Fleet

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If you’re look­ing for a real­ly good cus­tomer for vehi­cle ser­vice and main­te­nance, con­sid­er the fed­er­al fleet. The US gov­ern­ment spent $975 mil­lion main­tain­ing its fleet of 588,000 vehi­cles in 2011, the Gov­ern­ment Account­abil­i­ty Office said in a recent­ly released audit.

The GAO reports stud­ies whether fed­er­al agen­cies use orig­i­nal or reman­u­fac­tured parts to fix vehi­cles. Fed­er­al agen­cies have dif­fer­ent poli­cies on how to use them. The US Postal Ser­vice prefers reman­u­fac­tured parts as they’re gen­er­al­ly cheap­er.

Some of the agen­cies are will­ing to keep their vehi­cles for long peri­ods and give them more main­te­nance. The Postal Service’s fleet of near­ly 210,000 vehi­cles are aver­ag­ing 16.2 years of age, Home­land Security’s near­ly 49,000 vehi­cles are about four years old, and the Gen­er­al Ser­vice Administration’s 200,000 vehi­cle fleet are about 3.5 years old. GSA’s fleet needs far less main­te­nance than oth­er fleets and is based on pro­vid­ing vehi­cles for lease to sev­er­al fed­er­al agen­cies.

Agen­cies are set­ting dif­fer­ent thresh­olds for super­vi­sors to approve repairs. The Drug Enforce­ment Agency requires approval for repairs over $250, while Immi­gra­tion and Cus­toms Enforce­ment is much more flex­i­ble – repairs over $2,500 need approval. A few of the agen­cies use in-house garages for some of the main­te­nance and repair work.

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