Federal Motor Vehicles:

Private and State Practices Can Improve Fleet Management

GGD-95-18: Published: Dec 29, 1994. Publicly Released: Dec 29, 1994.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the federal government's management of its motor vehicle fleet, focusing on: (1) obstacles to achieving cost-efficient fleet management; and (2) public and private fleet management practices that might be applicable to the federal fleet.

GAO found that: (1) obstacles to cost-efficient federal fleet management include the lack of uniform guidance for conducting valid cost-comparison studies, insufficient vehicle information, unpredictable funding, and restrictive agency solicitations that limit private-sector competition; (2) in 1993, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued uniform guidance for conducting valid cost-comparison studies in response to a task force recommendation; (3) most federal agencies continue to operate their fleets without complying with statutory requirements for cost-efficiency; (4) improving fleet management requires a cost-conscious culture; and (5) essential management practices for cost-effective fleet operation include assessing vehicle utilization to determine the appropriate size of the fleet, establishing a fleet operation baseline, having needed information and supporting management information systems to assess performance, comparing costs and performance with the best fleets, funding the fleet through a revolving fund, and centralizing fleet management responsibilities.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: GAO recommended that OMB, as required by the COBRA law, ensure that agencies conduct cost comparison studies to compare the costs and benefits of its motor vehicle fleet operations with those of GSA's Interagency Fleet Management System and the private sector. One reason the agencies cited for not conducting the studies was the lack of uniform guidance. OMB and GSA issued joint guidance for motor vehicle cost comparisons in a new appendix on fleet management in OMB's Circular No. A-76 Revised Supplementary Handbook. The action taken provides the needed guidance to conduct cost comparisons, but does not require fleet operators to conduct cost comparisons of their current fleet operations. Also, the action does not establish a corrective action plan with goals and milestones to monitor and ensure that agencies are meeting cost comparison requirements of current fleets.

    Recommendation: To improve the cost-efficiency of federal fleets and to help them comply with the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act's (COBRA) requirements, the Director, OMB, should establish a corrective action plan with goals and milestones to monitor and ensure that agencies are meeting COBRA requirements pertaining to cost comparisons.

    Agency Affected: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: As of September 1997, OMB had not arranged for agency pilot projects to test the potential for improvements and cost savings through the use or expansion of management practices, such as utilization assessment and benchmarking. OMB Officials said that the Circular A-76 Revised Supplemental Handbook's cost comparison requirements and the Most Efficient Organization (MEO) design requirements could address the potential of management practices.

    Recommendation: The Director, OMB, should arrange for agency pilot projects to test the potential for improvements and cost savings through the use or expansion of management practices, including utilization assessments, sound information systems, benchmarking, and, when authorized by law, the establishment and use of revolving funds. As part of the pilot projects, the Director should discuss with task force members the merits of having a central manager for each agency fleet who can: (1) establish and monitor written policies and procedures to be used by vehicle users throughout the organization; (2) collect and analyze fleetwide data, including data on the costs and performance of fleets; (3) look for opportunities, using the previously mentioned management practices, to improve fleet operations and service to users; and (4) serve as the organization's in-house advocate in promoting a corporate culture that focuses the users on reducing their vehicle costs.

    Agency Affected: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget

  3. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: As of September 1997, OMB had not established any pilot projects and there was no plan to do so. Officials said that Circular A-76 Revised Supplemental Handbook cost comparison requirements and Most Efficient Organization (MEO) design requirements could address the management practices to be tested in the pilot projects.

    Recommendation: The Director, OMB, should establish a plan with goals and milestones to monitor and ensure that the pilot projects are successfully completed.

    Agency Affected: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget

  4. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: OMB had not established an interagency body that has the authority to: (1) address the task force's recommendations; (2) serve as an interagency forum for governmentwide fleet management issues; and (3) work with agencies to evaluate, and, if appropriate, eliminate or reduce restrictive agency solicitations that discourage private-sector participation in federal fleets. Officials said that the GSA had established an organization that deals with fleet issues in its Office of Government-Wide Policy.

    Recommendation: The Director, OMB, should reaffirm and clarify the role of the President's Council of Management Improvement's task force, or establish a similar interagency body that has the authority to: (1) address the task force's recommendations; (2) serve as an interagency forum for governmentwide fleet management issues; and (3) work with agencies to evaluate, and, if appropriate, eliminate or reduce restrictive agency solicitations that discourage private-sector participation in federal fleets.

    Agency Affected: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget

 

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