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Federal Vehicles: Composition and Management of Agency Fleets

GAO-16-455T Published: Feb 26, 2016. Publicly Released: Feb 26, 2016.
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What GAO Found

The federal vehicle fleet consists of dozens of agencies' fleets that range in size from just a few vehicles to more than 200,000. The vehicles agencies use to carry out these missions also vary and include passenger cars and trucks and special purpose vehicles (e.g., ambulances and buses.) In fiscal year 2014, the most recently available data, seven agencies owned or leased approximately 78 percent of non-tactical federal vehicles. Approximately one-third of these vehicles belonged to the U.S. Postal Service, and approximately 45 percent were owned or leased by six other agencies--the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Army, Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Department of Justice, the U.S. Navy, and the Department of Agriculture. As GAO reported in January 2016, fleet management is generally decentralized, as agencies are responsible for managing their vehicles in a manner that allows them to fulfill their missions and meet various federal requirements. Among other things, agencies determine the number and type of vehicles they need to own or lease and also determine the criteria used to determine if the vehicle is utilized. For example, agencies use criteria such as annual miles traveled or days used per month. For those vehicles that do not meet the utilization criteria, Federal Property Management Regulations allow agencies to individually justify a vehicle. According to General Services Administration (GSA) officials, GSA provides guidance to assist agencies, such as vehicle purchasing and maintenance services, but does not have oversight responsibility. In January 2016, GAO reported on the vehicle utilization processes in 5 agencies and found that 4 agencies could not readily provide justifications for leased vehicles that did not meet the agency's utilization criteria. GAO also found 2 agencies that cumulatively retained over 500 vehicles that did not meet the agency's utilization criteria or have another form of justification. It is critical that agencies have procedures and data that provide assurance they are using their fleets to meet missions in the most cost-effective way possible.

Why GAO Did This Study

Federal agencies spent over $4.4 billion in fiscal year 2014 to acquire, operate, and maintain about 634,000 non-tactical vehicles to help carry out their missions. In recent years, Congress, the Office of Management and Budget, and the President have raised concerns about the size and cost of federal fleets. This statement describes (1) selected characteristics of the federal vehicle fleet in fiscal year 2014 and (2) some key agency responsibilities for fleet management and how selected agencies have fulfilled those responsibilities. This testimony is based primarily on GAO's January 2016 report, which examined processes at select federal agencies related to the utilization of leased vehicles.


In its January 2016 report, GAO made several recommendations to, among other things, strengthen the vehicle justification process and facilitate the elimination of unnecessary vehicles.  Agencies agreed with these recommendations and plan to address them.

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Agency missionsData collectionFederal agenciesFederal procurementFederal regulationsLeasesReporting requirementsFederal vehicle fleetsFederal property managementEquipment management