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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