oversight

Federal Fleets: Overall Increase in Number of Vehicles Masks That Some Agencies Decreased Their Fleets

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 2012-08-02.

Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)

              United States Government Accountability Office

GAO           Report to the Ranking Member,
              Committee on the Budget, U.S. Senate



August 2012
              FEDERAL FLEETS

              Overall Increase in
              Number of Vehicles
              Masks That Some
              Agencies Decreased
              Their Fleets




GAO-12-780
                                             August 2012

                                             FEDERAL FLEETS
                                             Overall Increase in Number of Vehicles Masks That
                                             Some Agencies Decreased Their Fleets
Highlights of GAO-12-780, a report to the
Ranking Member, Committee on the Budget,
U.S. Senate




Why GAO Did This Study                       What GAO Found
The federal fleets consist of about          Since fiscal year 2005, the number of federal non-postal civilian and non-tactical
449,000 civilian and non-tactical            military vehicles has increased about 7 percent, from about 420,000 to 449,000
military (i.e., non-combat) cars, trucks,    vehicles. (See fig. below.) However, from fiscal year 2005 to 2011, some
and other vehicles, excluding postal         agencies decreased their fleets, and the change in fleet size from agency to
vehicles. Various legislation and            agency varied considerably. For example, one-third of the agencies (8 of 24) with
policies have been aimed at reducing         the largest number of vehicles decreased their fleets by at least 2 percent during
the size and changing the composition        this period. Of the 4 agencies GAO selected for review, the Departments of
of federal fleets as a means of              Agriculture (USDA) and Veterans Affairs (VA) increased their fleets 5 and 49
improving U.S. energy efficiency. Most
                                             percent, respectively since fiscal year 2005; the U.S. Air Force and Department
recently, in May 2011, the President
                                             of the Interior (Interior) decreased their fleets 7 and 9 percent, respectively.
issued a memorandum calling for
federal agencies to reduce oil imports
                                             Overall, federal agencies increased the portion of their fleets made up of
by determining the optimal size of their     alternative fuel vehicles (e.g., vehicles that operate using ethanol or batteries)
fleets and eliminating non-essential         from about 14 percent to 33 percent from fiscal years 2005 to 2011. In addition,
vehicles.                                    GAO found that 8 agencies accounted for almost 80 percent of total federal
                                             vehicles in fiscal year 2011, while 35 other agencies held the remaining vehicles.
GAO was asked to provide information
about any change in the size and
composition of federal fleets and the        Figure: Change in Federal Fleets from Fiscal Years 2005 to 2011
reasons agencies’ fleets increased or
decreased over time. GAO analyzed
agency fleet data compiled by the
General Services Administration (GSA)
to identify changes in fleet size and
vehicle type from fiscal years 2005 to
2011. GAO selected four agencies—
USDA, Interior, VA, and the U.S. Air
Force—to discuss with officials the
reasons for changes in fleet size. GAO
based its selection on factors such as
agency mission, fleet size, and
changes in the number of vehicles.
GAO did not include U.S. Postal
Service in its analysis because of
GAO’s recent report on Postal
Service’s delivery fleet.                    Note: GAO analysis included civilian (except Postal Service) and non-tactical military vehicles.
GAO is not making recommendations
in this report. Although Air Force,          Fleet managers at the four selected agencies stated that various factors can
USDA, and Interior did not comment           influence changes in fleet size. USDA and VA reportedly acquired more vehicles
on a draft of this report, GSA and VA        from fiscal years 2005 to 2011 to accommodate expanded programs and
generally agreed with GAO’s findings         services, among other factors. For example, VA acquired 5,367 additional
and provided technical comments that         vehicles in part to provide transportation to and from VA health care facilities for
were incorporated as appropriate.
                                             veterans who require health care services but are not able to drive themselves.
                                             In contrast, the Air Force and Interior reportedly decreased the number of
                                             vehicles in part through efforts targeted at reducing their fleets and costs. For
                                             example, through efforts to identify under-utilized vehicles, Interior eliminated 451
View GAO-12-780. For more information,       vehicles.
contact Susan Fleming at (202) 512-2834 or
flemings@gao.gov.

                                                                                               United States Government Accountability Office
Contents


Letter                                                                                              1
                       Background                                                                   3
                       The Number of Federal Vehicles Has Increased since 2005 with
                         Fleet Changes Varying by Agency                                            8
                       Officials Identified Multiple Factors That Influenced Fleet Size at
                         Selected Agencies                                                        13
                       Agency Comments                                                            22

Appendix I             Federal Agencies’ and the General Services Administration’s
                       Roles and Responsibilities for Federal Vehicles                            24



Appendix II            GAO Contact and Staff Acknowledgments                                      29



Related GAO Products                                                                              30



Tables
                       Table 1: Fleets at Four Selected Agencies and Their Largest
                                Subordinate Bureaus or Divisions                                    4
                       Table 2: Missions of Selected Agencies and Some of Their
                                Subordinate Bureaus or Divisions                                    5
                       Table 3: List of Selected Federal Statutes, Executive Orders, and
                                Policy Initiatives That Affect Federal Agencies’ Fleets             6
                       Table 4: Change in Proportion of Conventional and Alternative Fuel
                                Vehicles for Selected Agencies, Fiscal Years 2005 and 2011        13


Figures
                       Figure 1: Change in Federal Vehicles, Fiscal Years 2005 to 2011              8
                       Figure 2: Federal Agencies’ Vehicle Fleets, Fiscal Year 2011                 9
                       Figure 3: Change in the Number of Alternative and Conventional
                                Fuel Vehicles in Federal Agencies’ Fleets, Fiscal Years
                                2005 to 2011                                                      10
                       Figure 4: Change in Fleets of Federal Agencies with More Than
                                1,000 Vehicles, Fiscal Year 2011                                  12




                       Page i                                                GAO-12-780 Federal Fleets
Figure 5: Factors That Officials Reported Led to a Change in
         Overall Agency Fleet Size                                                        14
Figure 6: Increase in the Number of Veterans with a Service-
         Connected Disability, Fiscal Years 2000 to 2011                                  16
Figure 7: Number of Donated Vehicles in Veterans Health
         Administration’s Fleet, Fiscal Years 2007 to 2011                                17
Figure 8: NRCS Fleet Vehicle Inventory, Fiscal Years 2005 to 2011                         21
Figure 9: National Park Service Fleet Vehicle Inventory, Fiscal
         Years 2005 to 2011                                                               22




Abbreviations

APHIS             Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
BLM               Bureau of Land Management
FAST              Federal Automotive Statistical Tool
GHG               greenhouse gas
GSA               General Services Administration
NRCS              Natural Resources Conservation Service
USDA              Department of Agriculture
VA                Department of Veterans Affairs




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Page ii                                                         GAO-12-780 Federal Fleets
United States Government Accountability Office
Washington, DC 20548




                                   August 2, 2012

                                   The Honorable Jeff Sessions
                                   Ranking Member
                                   Committee on the Budget
                                   Unites States Senate

                                   Dear Mr. Sessions:

                                   The federal fleets consist of about 449,000 civilian and non-tactical
                                   military (i.e., non-combat) cars, trucks, and other vehicles, excluding
                                   postal service vehicles. 1 Federal policy makers have initiated a variety of
                                   efforts aimed at reducing the size of or changing the composition of
                                   federal fleets as a means of increasing U.S. energy efficiency. For
                                   example, the Energy Policy Act of 1992 requires that 75 percent of all
                                   light duty vehicles (e.g., sedans and light trucks) acquired for federal
                                   fleets be alternative fuel vehicles. 2 In 2002, the Office of Management
                                   and Budget sent a memorandum to the heads of executive branch
                                   agencies encouraging them to examine the size of their vehicle fleets and
                                   requiring agencies to report the size, composition, and cost of their fleets
                                   as part of their budget submission process. Most recently, in May 2011,
                                   the President issued a memorandum on federal fleets’ performance
                                   calling on agencies to lead the way in meeting the goal of reducing oil
                                   imports by, among other activities, determining the optimum size of their
                                   fleets and eliminating non-essential vehicles. At the same time, recent
                                   legislative proposals have called for reductions to agencies’ fleets. 3

                                   Given these policy priorities, you asked us to provide a range of
                                   information about federal fleets, including the reasons vehicle inventory
                                   may increase or decrease over time. In this report, we address (1) the



                                   1
                                    In fiscal year 2011, the U.S. Postal Service had about 210,000 vehicles, bringing
                                   the total federal vehicle inventory to about 660,000 vehicles. We are not including
                                   postal vehicles in this report because we recently reported on the U.S. Postal
                                   Service’s delivery fleet. See GAO, U.S. Postal Service: Strategy Needed to
                                   Address Aging Delivery Fleet, GAO-11-386 (Washington, D.C.: May 5, 2011).
                                   2
                                    Pub. L. No. 102-486, § 303 (Oct. 24, 1992).
                                   3
                                    For example, S. 1246 directs federal agencies
                                                                              th
                                                                                  to coordinate with OMB to reduce
                                   vehicle budgets by 20 percent. S. 1246, 112 Cong. (2011).




                                   Page 1                                                     GAO-12-780 Federal Fleets
extent to which the size of federal agencies’ fleets changed since 2005, if
at all, and (2) the primary reasons that the size of selected agencies’
fleets changed over this period. You also asked about the General
Services Administration’s (GSA) role in helping agencies manage their
vehicle fleets. GSA’s responsibilities include acquiring and in some cases
disposing of vehicles for agencies and producing an annual report about
fleet inventory size and fuel consumption as reported by federal agencies.
We found that GSA has provided services to assist agencies in managing
their fleets, including developing guidance to help determine vehicle
needs and creating tools to help agencies track vehicles. According to
GSA officials, it has the authority to promulgate regulations and issue
guidance to agencies related to fleet management, but it lacks
enforcement authority. We provide more complete information about the
role GSA plays with respect to helping agencies mange their fleets in
appendix I. We plan to address other aspects of your request in
subsequent work, including federal agencies’ responses to the
presidential memorandum and GSA’s evaluation of these efforts.

To identify changes in fleet size and composition, by ownership and
vehicle categories, we obtained and analyzed GSA’s federal fleet reports
from 2005 to 2011 for 64 entities (58 civilian agencies and 6 military
agencies). GSA prepares the federal fleet reports based on data provided
annually by federal agencies through its Web-based Federal Automotive
Statistical Tool (FAST), which GSA and the Department of Energy
established in 2000. To determine whether the federal fleet report data
were of sufficient reliability for our analysis, we reviewed the program-
reporting documentation and quality assurance tests, and discussed the
various data elements with knowledgeable agency officials. We learned
that the process for reporting data is mainly dependent on the reporting
agency. We further learned, based on discussions with GSA and other
selected agency officials, that the data reported in more recent years
were of better quality than the data provided earlier. To ensure
consistency and accuracy in our analysis, we limited our data analysis to
2005 to 2011 and eliminated 21 civilian agencies from our analysis
because of missing data, consolidation, or removal from the FAST system
in later years. As a result of our review and discussions, we determined
that the data included in our analysis were sufficiently reliable for the
purpose of describing fleet sizes and composition of the 43 agencies for
fiscal years 2005 to 2011. We did not include the U.S. Postal Service




Page 2                                               GAO-12-780 Federal Fleets
             (Postal Service) in our analysis because we recently reported on its
             delivery fleet. 4

             To identify reasons for changes in fleets, we selected 4 agencies—3
             civilian (Departments of Agriculture, the Interior, and Veterans Affairs)
             and 1 military (U.S. Air Force)—for case studies. These agencies’
             vehicles made up about 32 percent of the federal vehicles included in our
             analysis. We based our selection on various factors and criteria, including
             agency mission, fleet size, and changes in fleet over time. Specifically, we
             identified civilian and military agencies with different missions and greater
             than 3,000 vehicles in 2011 and then determined whether their fleets
             increased or decreased from fiscal years 2005 to 2011. We selected two
             agencies that increased the number of vehicles and two that decreased
             the number of vehicles over the time frame of our review. We reviewed
             agencies’ documents and data, and spoke with agencies’ fleet managers
             and other officials. We also reviewed GSA regulations and policies
             regarding its authority and responsibilities related to tracking the fleet
             inventory, issuing guidance, and acquiring and disposing of vehicles.

             We conducted this performance audit from October 2011 to August 2012
             in accordance with generally accepted government-auditing standards.
             Those standards require that we plan and perform the audit to obtain
             sufficient, appropriate evidence to provide a reasonable basis for our
             findings and conclusions based on our audit objectives. We believe the
             evidence obtained provides a reasonable basis for our findings and
             conclusions based on our audit objectives.


             Although commonly used, the term “federal fleet” is a misnomer because
Background   there is no single entity that is responsible for all of the almost 660,000
             civilian, Postal Service, and non-tactical military vehicles (about 449,000
             excluding Postal Service vehicles) owned and leased by federal
             agencies. Instead, each federal executive agency is responsible for its
             own fleet. Furthermore, although some federal agencies may have a
             single, centralized fleet of vehicles, others’ fleets are decentralized and
             dispersed among multiple sub-agencies, bureaus, or divisions. In fact, the
             fleets at all of our four selected agencies consist of smaller fleets of




             4
             GAO -11-386.




             Page 3                                                GAO-12-780 Federal Fleets
                                          vehicles that belong to various bureaus and divisions. (See table 1 for
                                          breakdown of fleets at selected agencies.)

Table 1: Fleets at Four Selected Agencies and Their Largest Subordinate Bureaus or Divisions

                                                                                                            Fleet size as
Name of selected agency           Largest subordinate bureaus or divisions by fleet size                      of FY 2011
Department of Agriculture         Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service                                       5,433
                                  Forest Service                                                                  20,235
                                  Natural Resources Conservation Service                                           9,516
                                  All other USDA bureaus and sub-agencies                                          8,215
                                  Total                                                                           43,399
Department of the Interior        Bureau of Land Management                                                        5,363
                                  National Park Service                                                           11,714
                                  Fish and Wildlife Service                                                        6,863
                                  All other Interior bureaus and sub-agencies                                      9,705
                                  Total                                                                           33,645
Department of Veterans Affairs    Veterans Health Administration                                                  14,819
                                  Veterans Benefits Administration                                                   787
                                  National Cemetery Administration                                                   642
                                  All other Veterans Affairs staff offices                                           173
                                  Total                                                                           16,421
U.S. Air Force                    Air Combat Command                                                              14,455
                                  Air National Guard                                                              11,681
                                  Pacific Air Forces                                                               9,124
                                  All other Air Force major commands                                              15,637
                                  Total                                                                           50,897
                                          Source: GAO analysis of GSA and U.S. Air Force data.



                                          Federal departments, agencies, and their contractors use vehicles—
                                          specifically non-tactical vehicles such as passenger cars, trucks (light,
                                          medium, and heavy), and special purpose vehicles (e.g., ambulances and
                                          buses)—to carry out their different missions. (See table 2.) For example,
                                          the National Park Service uses trucks to transport personnel and
                                          equipment to fight fires and the Veterans Health Administration uses
                                          passenger cars to transport veterans to and from Department of Veterans
                                          Affairs (VA) health care facilities to receive medical services. Agencies’
                                          vehicles are often widely dispersed across the country and, in some
                                          cases, throughout the world. For example, the Air Force operates
                                          vehicles on bases in Europe and Asia, while VA’s fleet is spread across



                                          Page 4                                                 GAO-12-780 Federal Fleets
                                            medical centers, national cemeteries, and other locations throughout the
                                            country.

Table 2: Missions of Selected Agencies and Some of Their Subordinate Bureaus or Divisions

Department of Agriculture works to support the American agricultural economy to strengthen rural communities; to protect and
conserve the nation’s natural resources; and to provide a safe, sufficient, and nutritious food supply for the American people.
•   Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service—Protects and promotes U.S. agricultural health, regulates genetically engineered
    organisms, administers the Animal Welfare Act, and carries out wildlife damage-management activities.
•   Forest Service—Manages public lands in national forests and grasslands.
•   Natural Resources Conservation Service—Ensures private lands are conserved, restored, and more resilient to environmental
    challenges, like climate change.
Predominant vehicle types: sedans, light duty vehicles, and medium duty vehicles.
Department of the Interior manages the nation’s natural resources and cultural heritage; provides scientific and other information
about those resources; and honors trust responsibilities or special commitments to American Indians, Alaska Natives, and affiliated
island communities.
•    Bureau of Land Management—Sustains the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and
     enjoyment of present and future generations.
•    National Park Service—Preserves the natural and cultural resources and values of the national park system for the enjoyment,
     education, and inspiration of this and future generations.
•    U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service—Conserves, protects, and enhances fish, wildlife, and plants and their habitats for the American
     people.
Predominant vehicle types: light duty vehicles, medium duty vehicles, and heavy duty vehicles.
Department of Veterans Affairs serves America’s veterans and their families by responding to their needs for health care, benefits,
and memorial services.
•   Veterans Health Administration—Provides comprehensive care to more than 8.3 million veterans a year through its health care
    facilities, including 152 medical centers and nearly 1,400 community-based outpatient clinics, and is the nation’s largest
    integrated health care system.
•   Veterans Benefits Administration—Serves veterans, service members, and their families by delivering client-centered and
    personalized benefits and services that assist in their readjustment.
•   National Cemetery Administration—Honors veterans and their families with final resting places in national shrines and with lasting
    tributes that commemorate their service to the nation.
Predominant vehicle types: sedans, light duty vehicles, medium duty vehicles, and heavy duty vehicles.
The U.S. Air Force is a branch of the U.S. armed forces responsible for aerial warfare, space warfare, and cyberwarfare.
•   Air Combat Command—Supports global implementation of national security strategy and operates fighter, bomber,
    reconnaissance, battle-management, and electronic-combat aircraft.
•   Air National Guard—Maintains combat-ready units available for prompt mobilization during war and provides assistance during
    national emergencies.
•   Pacific Air Forces— Provides ready air and space power to promote U.S. interests in the Asia-Pacific during peacetime, crisis,
    and in war.
Predominant vehicle types: light duty vehicles, medium duty vehicles, and heavy duty vehicles.
                                            Source: GAO analysis of agencies’ information.

                                            Note: Examples of light duty vehicles include subcompact (4 passenger) vehicles, midsize (5
                                            passenger) sedans, 4x2 sports utility vehicles, 4x4 pickup trucks, and 4x2 van wagons. Examples of
                                            medium duty and heavy duty vehicles include cargo vans, dump trucks, and maintenance trucks.




                                            Page 5                                                                GAO-12-780 Federal Fleets
                                            Federal agencies and GSA have distinct responsibilities regarding federal
                                            fleets. Federal agencies are responsible for operating a fleet that enables
                                            them to fulfill their mission and meet federal energy and fuel efficiency
                                            requirements. Specifically, federal agencies are responsible for acquiring,
                                            maintaining, and managing their vehicles. GSA’s role is to develop
                                            guidance to help agencies manage their fleets, help agencies procure
                                            affordable vehicles, and provide reports on the federal fleet. In particular,
                                            GSA establishes policies and issues guidance to help agencies manage
                                            their fleets effectively and meet other federal requirements. GSA
                                            manages both the vehicle-purchasing and vehicle-leasing programs,
                                            thereby offering federal agencies an array of automotive products,
                                            including alternative fuel vehicles, sedans, light trucks, buses, and heavy
                                            trucks. In addition, GSA and the Department of Energy co-sponsor a
                                            Web-based data- reporting portal, in which agencies annually report
                                            information about the size and composition of vehicles, fuel consumption,
                                            and vehicle mileage. (See app. I for additional information about
                                            agencies’ and GSA’s roles and responsibilities.)

                                            Federal laws, executive orders, and policy decisions have affected
                                            agency fleet size and composition. (See table 3.) For example, various
                                            statutes have been enacted requiring federal agencies to meet certain
                                            energy goals by reducing petroleum consumption and acquiring
                                            alternative fuel vehicles.

Table 3: List of Selected Federal Statutes, Executive Orders, and Policy Initiatives That Affect Federal Agencies’ Fleets

Statutes, executive orders,     Year enacted
or policy initiatives            or issued           Description
Energy Policy Act of 1992            1992            The act requires alternative fuel vehicles make up 75 percent of light duty vehicles
                                                     acquired by federal agencies operating fleets of 20 or more vehicles in
                                                     metropolitan statistical areas with populations of 250,000 or more.
Office of Management and             2002            The Office of Management and Budget sent a memorandum to agencies
Budget memo to federal                               indicating that it was taking a close look at vehicle inventory and encouraged
agencies                                             agencies to do the same. It required agencies, as part of their budget submission,
                                                     to report the size, composition, and cost of their fleets for the current year and to
                                                     project costs for the next 3 fiscal years.
                        a
Executive Order 13423                2007            Sets goals in various energy efficiency areas and directs federal agencies to
                                                     increase alternative fuel consumption by 159.4 percent (or 10 percent annually
                                                     over the previous year) by 2015, from a 2005 baseline.
Energy Independence and              2007            Requires federal agencies to achieve at least a 20 percent reduction in annual
                           b
Security Act of 2007 (EISA)                          petroleum consumption and a 10 percent increase in annual alternative fuel
                                                     consumption by 2015 relative to a fiscal year 2005 baseline. EISA also prohibits
                                                     federal agencies from acquiring any light duty motor vehicle or medium duty
                                                     passenger vehicles that is not a low greenhouse gas (GHG) emitting vehicle.




                                            Page 6                                                              GAO-12-780 Federal Fleets
Statutes, executive orders,   Year enacted
or policy initiatives          or issued           Description
                        c
Executive Order 13514            2009              In an effort to reduce GHG, the executive order directs federal agencies to reduce
                                                   petroleum consumption by 30 percent or 2 percent annually by 2020, from a 2005
                                                   baseline.
American Recovery and            2009              The Recovery Act appropriated $300 million to GSA to acquire newer, energy-
Reinvestment Act of 2009                           efficient motor vehicles to replace older, less efficient vehicles. GSA administered
               d
(Recovery Act)                                     the funds and required the agencies it selected to receive Recovery Act vehicles
                                                   to turn in an older vehicle to receive a new one.
                                        Source: GAO analysis of federal statutes, executive orders, and policy initiatives.
                                        a
                                         Strengthening Federal Environmental, Energy and Transportation Management, 72 Fed. Reg. 3919
                                        (Jan. 26, 2007).
                                        b
                                            Pub. L. No. 110-140, §§ 141, 142 (Dec. 19, 2007).
                                        c
                                         Federal Leadership in Environmental Energy and Economic Performance, 74 Fed. Reg. 52117 (Oct.
                                        8, 2009).
                                        d
                                            Pub. L. No. 111-5, 123 Stat. 115 (Feb. 17, 2009).


                                        We have previously reported that in light of multiple and sometimes
                                        conflicting statutes, fleet managers often lack the flexibility and tools to
                                        meet the goal of reducing the federal fleets’ use of petroleum and its GHG
                                        emissions. 5 These statutes and executive orders were enacted and
                                        issued in a piecemeal fashion and represent a fragmented rather than an
                                        integrated approach to meeting key national goals.

                                        In May 2011, the President issued a memorandum regarding federal
                                        fleets’ performance directing all federal agencies to evaluate and report
                                        on their fleets to meet 2015 alternative fuel vehicle goals. At the time of
                                        our review, federal agencies were in the process of responding to the
                                        presidential memorandum by completing their vehicle allocation
                                        methodologies—a tool agencies are using to evaluate their fleets—and
                                        GSA was preparing to evaluate their responses. 6




                                        5
                                         GAO, Opportunities to Reduce Potential Duplication in Government Programs,
                                        Save Tax Dollars, and Enhance Revenue, GAO-11-318SP, (Washington, D.C.:
                                        Mar. 1, 2011).
                                        6
                                         The presidential memorandum required agencies to report their vehicle
                                        allocation methodology results to GSA and on agency websites by February
                                        2012. Further, agencies were required to incorporate GSA-approved vehicle
                                        acquisition and management plans into their annual strategic sustainability
                                        performance plans by the beginning of June 2012.




                                        Page 7                                                                                GAO-12-780 Federal Fleets
                       Since fiscal year 2005, the number of federal non-postal, non-tactical
The Number of          vehicles has increased about 7 percent, from 420,382 to 449,444
Federal Vehicles Has   vehicles. 7
Increased since 2005
                       Figure 1: Change in Federal Vehicles, Fiscal Years 2005 to 2011
with Fleet Changes
Varying by Agency




                       Note: GAO’s analysis included civilian (except Postal Service) and non-tactical military vehicles.


                       The federal inventory of non-postal, non-tactical vehicles is dominated by
                       a few agencies. In fiscal year 2011, the fleets of 8 federal agencies made
                       up almost 80 percent of total federal vehicles, while 35 agencies made up
                       the remaining 21 percent (fig. 2).




                       7
                        U.S. Postal Service vehicles are excluded from this analysis because we
                       recently reported on the U.S. Postal Service’s delivery fleet. See GAO-11-386.




                       Page 8                                                                    GAO-12-780 Federal Fleets
Figure 2: Federal Agencies’ Vehicle Fleets, Fiscal Year 2011




Note: GAO analysis included civilian (except Postal Service) and non-tactical military vehicles.


In addition to the size of their fleets, federal agencies’ changed fleet
composition as well. Overall, federal agencies increased the proportion of
their fleets made up of alternative fuel vehicles (i.e., vehicles that operate
using an ethanol blended fuel, compressed natural gas, and batteries,
among others) as opposed to conventional fuel vehicles (i.e., vehicles
that operate on gasoline and diesel fuel) from about 14 percent to 33
percent from fiscal years 2005 to 2011. (See fig. 3.) The increase in the
proportion of alternative fuel vehicles should not be surprising given that
the Energy Policy Act of 1992 requires that federal agencies move toward
acquiring mostly alternative fuel sedans and trucks. 8




8
 GAO previously reported that the U.S. Postal Service, which purchased about
43,000 alternative fuel vehicles as of September 2010, has indicated that it may
not be able to operate the vehicles using the alternative fuel because the fuel
may be unavailable or more costly. See GAO-11-386.




Page 9                                                                   GAO-12-780 Federal Fleets
Figure 3: Change in the Number of Alternative and Conventional Fuel Vehicles in
Federal Agencies’ Fleets, Fiscal Years 2005 to 2011




Note: GAO analysis included civilian (except Postal Service) and non-tactical military vehicles.


One characteristic that did not change substantially over the period is the
extent to which federal agencies owned or leased vehicles. In fiscal year
2011, federal agencies owned about 54 percent of their vehicles, leased
about 44 percent from GSA, and leased about 2 percent from commercial
vendors. These percentages remained fairly stable across the 7-year
period.

Although the number of federal vehicles increased from fiscal years 2005
to 2011, not all agencies’ fleets increased—some agencies experienced a
decrease in the number of vehicles, while others changed very little.
Specifically, 8 of the 24 agencies with the largest numbers of vehicles
decreased their fleets by at least 2 percent over the period. (See fig. 4.)
Of the four agencies we selected for review, two increased and two
decreased the number of vehicles in their fleet over the seven-year
period. USDA and VA both increased the size of their fleets. USDA’s fleet
grew about 5 percent and VA’s fleet grew about 49 percent from fiscal
years 2005 to 2011. Over that period, VA experienced a net gain of 5,367


Page 10                                                                  GAO-12-780 Federal Fleets
vehicles, which represents about 1 percent of all federal vehicles in fiscal
year 2011. In contrast, the Air Force and Interior both decreased the size
of their fleets from fiscal years 2005 to 2011. The Air Force reduced its
fleet about 7 percent, experiencing a net loss of 4,111 vehicles, and
Interior reduced its fleet about 9 percent, or 3,510 vehicles. Each
agency’s fleet varied from year to year.




Page 11                                               GAO-12-780 Federal Fleets
Figure 4: Change in Fleets of Federal Agencies with More Than 1,000 Vehicles, Fiscal Year 2011




                                         Page 12                                                 GAO-12-780 Federal Fleets
                                         Notes: As discussed in the report, those agencies highlighted in yellow were selected for in-depth
                                         analysis.

                                         GAO analysis included civilian (except Postal Service) and non-tactical military vehicles.

                                         Although the number of U.S. Agency for International Development’s vehicles increased by 1 percent,
                                         the agency experienced a 45 percent decrease from fiscal years 2005 to 2008.


                                         In addition, each selected agency increased the proportion of its fleet
                                         made up of alternative fuel vehicles. (See table 4.) Interior’s alternative
                                         fuel fleet grew 509 percent over the period with alternative fuel vehicles
                                         making up about 25 percent of its fleet in fiscal year 2011. VA’s
                                         alternative fuel vehicles made up about 52 percent of its overall fleet in
                                         fiscal year 2011, a larger proportion than any of the other three agencies.

Table 4: Change in Proportion of Conventional and Alternative Fuel Vehicles for Selected Agencies, Fiscal Years 2005 and
2011

                                              Proportion of fleets                 Proportion of fleets             Percentage change in
                                          made up of conventional                made up of alternative           alternative fuel vehicles
                                                     fuel vehicles                       fuel vehicles           from FY 2005 to FY 2011
Agency                                       FY 2005               FY 2011            FY 2005      FY 2011
Department of Agriculture                       91.9%                 69.9%               8.1%       30.1%                             279%
U.S. Air Force                                  90.2%                 77.6%               9.8%       22.4%                             112%
Department of the Interior                      96.3%                 75.4%               3.7%       24.6%                             509%
Department of Veterans Affairs                  87.2%                 48.5%             12.8%        51.5%                             498%
                                         Source: GAO analysis of GSA data.




                                         The fleet managers at the four agencies we selected told us that various
Officials Identified                     factors have influenced changes in fleet size. (See fig. 5.) According to
Multiple Factors That                    officials, USDA and VA increased the size of their fleets from fiscal years
                                         2005 to 2011 to accommodate expanded programs and services, among
Influenced Fleet Size                    other factors, while the Air Force and Interior reportedly decreased their
at Selected Agencies                     fleet size in part by implementing measures to improve fleet
                                         management. Officials also identified fleet changes in subordinate
                                         bureaus and divisions, but in the two cases we learned of, they were not
                                         substantive enough to influence the direction of the agency’s overall fleet
                                         changes over the 7-year period. Further, agency officials stated that fleets
                                         did not increase as a result of vehicles procured using Recovery Act
                                         funds, because higher fuel-efficient vehicles replaced older, less fuel-
                                         efficient ones on a one-for-one basis.




                                         Page 13                                                                  GAO-12-780 Federal Fleets
Figure 5: Factors That Officials Reported Led to a Change in Overall Agency Fleet Size




Expanded Programs and                    USDA officials we interviewed told us that additional workload and
Other Factors Increased                  program responsibilities contributed to the increase in USDA’s fleet size.
Fleet Size at Some                       From fiscal years 2008 to 2010, USDA’s Forest Service gained nine job
                                         corps centers from Interior Department bureaus: three from the National
Selected Agencies                        Park Service in 2008 and six from the Bureau of Reclamation from fiscal
                                         years 2009 to 2010. 9 Each of these job corps centers required the
                                         acquisition of additional vehicles ranging from sedans, vans, buses, and a
                                         variety of trucks to provide the approximately 200 new employees with
                                         the transportation and resources to accomplish additional program
                                         responsibilities. Since the job corps centers were located in or near
                                         national forests, they required vehicles, including buses that could
                                         evacuate staff and students in a short period of time in the event of a
                                         forest fire. Pick-up trucks were also acquired to take equipment to
                                         construction job sites as part of the vocational training. USDA officials
                                         also told us that specific subordinate agencies within USDA like the
                                         Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) also acquired
                                         additional vehicles to accommodate an increase in the number of APHIS
                                         personnel and drivers to complete mission requirements.




                                         9
                                          According to USDA, one reason why the Forest Service gained responsibility for
                                         these job corps centers is because they directly contribute to USDA’s mission of
                                         conserving national forests and grasslands. For example, job corps students
                                         have fought forest fires, planted trees, improved wildlife habits, and built or
                                         maintained recreational facilities.




                                         Page 14                                                  GAO-12-780 Federal Fleets
Similarly, VA officials told us that growth in veteran services has
contributed to a significant increase in VA’s fleet size. According to VA
officials, although the number of veterans declined overall, VA increased
its program services to accommodate the increasing number of veteran
health care recipients, including veterans with service-connected
disabilities from fiscal years 2000 to 2011. 10 (See fig. 6.) Further, VA
officials indicated the agency has expanded a number of veteran services
including: mental health care and counseling services, health care
services to veterans returning from recent wars, home-based services to
disabled and elderly veterans, and rural health care services in remote
areas of the nation. According to VA officials, the increase in programs
and services to veterans and service members and resulting workload
placed pressure on the agency to increase its fleet size. For example, VA
recently acquired more vehicles to provide transportation to and from VA
health care facilities—including medical centers and community-based
outpatient clinics—for veterans who require health care services but are
not able to drive themselves. 11




10
  Veterans with a service-connected disability are those who are disabled by an
injury or illness that was incurred or aggravated during active military service.
11
  A community-based outpatient clinic is a VA-operated clinic or a VA-funded or
reimbursed health care facility or site that is geographically distinct or separate
from the parent medical facility.




Page 15                                                     GAO-12-780 Federal Fleets
Figure 6: Increase in the Number of Veterans with a Service-Connected Disability,
Fiscal Years 2000 to 2011




Vehicles donated by veteran service organizations have also played a
role—albeit a marginal one—in increasing VA’s fleet, according to VA
officials. 12 From fiscal years 2007 to 2011, the number of donated
vehicles increased from 899 to 1,451. (See fig. 7.) Although the number
of donated vehicles is small compared to the overall fleet, as of April 2012
there were 1,683 active donated vehicles, most of which belong to the
Veterans Health Administration.




12
  According to VA officials, the agency uses these vehicles side-by-side with its
leased and owned vehicles. VA does not control the efficiency or fuel type of
donated vehicles.




Page 16                                                    GAO-12-780 Federal Fleets
                            Figure 7: Number of Donated Vehicles in Veterans Health Administration’s Fleet,
                            Fiscal Years 2007 to 2011




Measures to Improve Fleet   According to Air Force officials, the agency has had various fleet
Management Helped Some      downsizing policies in place and has implemented some recent efforts to
Agencies Decrease Fleet     eliminate vehicles that are not mission critical. Officials also noted that the
                            agency has often targeted unnecessary vehicles for cost cutting.
Size
                            •   The Air Force has a zero growth policy prohibiting new vehicle
                                purchases except when a change in mission occurs (i.e., additional
                                aircraft assigned, new weapon systems deployed, new units assigned
                                to a base, etc.). Air Force officials also told us that senior fleet
                                management staff closely monitors any request to increase fleet size
                                and determines if existing vehicles can be re-assigned to cover new
                                mission needs.




                            Page 17                                                   GAO-12-780 Federal Fleets
•    The Air Force takes steps to ensure that the agency is authorizing the
     minimum number of vehicles necessary to support current mission
     requirements by conducting in-person visits to major commands and
     installations. 13 The agency uses these in-person visits to monitor
     requests to not only acquire new but also retain existing vehicles; then
     it uses the information to identify and eliminate unnecessary
     vehicles. 14

•    In March 2007, the Air Force issued guidance limiting midsize to large
     sedans and sport utility vehicles to only four star officers in an effort to
     reduce overall vehicle ownership costs.

•    In January 2011, the Air Force audited various installations and found
     that 379 vehicles were utilized less than 30 percent of agency vehicle
     utilization goals. 15 The agency subsequently removed these under-
     utilized vehicles, a move that, according to Air Force officials, resulted
     in a one-time savings to the Air Force of about $1.8 million. Officials
     reported that they will continue these efforts.

•    In August 2011, the agency identified over 6,000 underutilized
     vehicles that, if eliminated, could save the Air Force an estimated half
     a billion dollars or more in procurement and leasing costs. 16 Since
     August 2011, the Air Force has eliminated approximately 739
     vehicles, comprised of a mix of GSA-leased and agency-owned
     vehicles, according to Air Force officials.




13
  U.S. Air Force guidance requires fleet management staff to authorize vehicles
that are necessary to support current mission requirements through a vehicle
authorization. Each major command approves vehicle authorizations for existing
fleet vehicles or new vehicle purchases.
14
  The Air Force is in the process of replacing these in-person visits with a new
fleet management decision support system.
15
 Air Force Audit Agency, U.S. Air Force Audit Report, Management of Vehicle
Requirements (January 2011)
16
  The Air Force initially identified 6,000 under-utilized vehicles, but approximately
2,500 of these vehicles were special purpose, war reserve vehicles that were still
required to carry out mission needs and were not eligible to be cut. Air Force
officials told us that the agency is still in the process of removing under-utilized
vehicles that are not special purpose vehicles.




Page 18                                                     GAO-12-780 Federal Fleets
Similarly, according to Interior officials, specific bureaus within the agency
have implemented fleet downsizing efforts by identifying under-utilized
vehicles and either disposing or re-locating vehicles across the bureau.

•    The Bureau of Land Management (BLM)—a bureau within Interior that
     administers federal lands—has implemented downsizing efforts by
     identifying non-essential GSA-leased vehicles for removal and
     transferring under-utilized agency-owned vehicles to other bureau
     offices. According to Interior officials, BLM requires its fleet managers
     to monitor the utilization of its vehicles within the past 12 months to
     ensure each vehicle is justified and properly utilized. As a result of
     these fleet downsizing efforts, from fiscal years 2003 to 2008, BLM
     reduced miles traveled by more than 5-million miles and saved almost
     $3.4 million, according to Interior officials.

•    Interior’s U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service fleet personnel also regularly
     examines vehicle utilization rates—such as vehicle miles driven per
     hour—to ensure vehicles are meeting agency goals. The bureau also
     identifies old and least-utilized vehicles annually. According to U.S.
     Fish and Wildlife Service officials, the bureau removed 451 vehicles
     from its vehicle fleet from fiscal years 2007 to 2010.

In addition to fleet downsizing efforts, two agencies expect current cost-
savings measures will play a role in reducing the number of vehicles in
the future. Both Air Force and Interior anticipate decreasing their fleet size
and realizing immediate cost savings by returning GSA-leased vehicles. 17
For example, although the Air Force has returned some vehicles back to
GSA, thus decreasing the Air Force’s fleet size, the agency continues to
implement further reductions to its GSA-leased fleet in order to meet a
$10-million cut in vehicle-leasing funds in the agency’s planned 2013
defense budget. Similarly, in a department-wide campaign to cut waste,
Interior’s National Park Service plans to return approximately 300 GSA-
leased vehicles and save approximately $3.4 million in fleet-related costs.
According to a GSA official, agencies that need to cut fleet-related costs
often realize immediate cash savings by turning in their GSA leased
vehicles.



17
  According to GSA officials, GSA uses vehicles returned prior to the end of their
normal lease term to fill other agencies’ vehicle requests rather than purchasing
new vehicles. See appendix I for additional information about GSA leasing
practices.



Page 19                                                   GAO-12-780 Federal Fleets
                             Improved fleet data management also may have helped the Air Force
                             decrease fleet size by identifying and cutting unnecessary vehicles,
                             according to Air Force fleet managers. As part of its effort to establish a
                             property management information system, the Air Force needed to
                             aggregate and validate vehicle operations data to produce an accurate,
                             agencywide view of its worldwide fleet, which required conducting a full
                             inventory of its 90,000 tactical and non-tactical vehicles around the world.
                             According to Air Force officials, this process helped the Air Force identify
                             and remove unnecessary vehicles from its fleet, as described previously
                             in this report.


Subordinate Bureaus’ Fleet   Similar to our findings related to the overall federal fleets, we found
Changes May Not              instances where fleet changes in agencies’ subordinate bureaus’ fleets
Determine the Overall        did not coincide with the direction of fleet changes at the overall
                             department level. For example, in response to the May 2011 presidential
Direction of Agency Fleet    memorandum on fleet performance, USDA’s Natural Resources
Size Changes                 Conservation Service (NRCS) prohibited new vehicle acquisitions and
                             made concerted efforts to reduce the size of its fleet through the disposal
                             of older, under-utilized, high emission vehicles. (See fig. 8.) NRCS also
                             decreased its fleet when the agency closed several offices and
                             terminated programs in response to a $30-million budget cut. According
                             to USDA officials, these fleet downsizing efforts helped NRCS reduce its
                             fleet by over 1,200 vehicles. Despite this, reductions in NRCS’s fleet were
                             not substantial enough to influence the overall change in USDA’s fleet,
                             which grew by 5 percent from fiscal years 2005 to 2011.




                             Page 20                                               GAO-12-780 Federal Fleets
Figure 8: NRCS Fleet Vehicle Inventory, Fiscal Years 2005 to 2011




Conversely, Interior’s National Park Service increased its fleet size to
handle additional park management responsibilities even though Interior’s
overall fleet size decreased. (See fig. 9.) According to Interior officials,
National Park Service’s fleet increased in some regions to accommodate
new parks, road projects, and land acquisitions. For example, National
Park Service incorporated nine additional parks and historic monuments
into its national park system from 2006 to 2011, and these additions to
the system required additional vehicles to carry out mission needs. While
the National Park Service’s fleet increased, these additional vehicles did
not change the direction of Interior’s overall fleet size changes.




Page 21                                                    GAO-12-780 Federal Fleets
                  Figure 9: National Park Service Fleet Vehicle Inventory, Fiscal Years 2005 to 2011




                  We provided copies of a draft of this report to GSA, Air Force, USDA,
Agency Comments   Interior, and VA for their review and comment. The audit liaisons from Air
                  Force, USDA, and Interior provided emails indicating their agencies had
                  no comments on the draft report. GSA’s Associate Administrator and VA’s
                  Chief of Staff agreed with our findings and provided written technical
                  comments that were incorporated as appropriate.


                  We are sending copies of this report to interested congressional
                  committees, the Administrator of the General Services Administration,
                  and the Secretaries of Agriculture, Air Force, Defense, the Interior, and
                  Veterans Affairs. In addition, the report is available at no charge on the
                  GAO website at http://www.gao.gov.

                  If you or your staff have any questions about this report, please contact
                  me at (202) 512-2834 or flemings@gao.gov. Contact points for our




                  Page 22                                                     GAO-12-780 Federal Fleets
Offices of Congressional Relations and Public Affairs may be found on
the last page of this report. GAO staff who made major contributions to
this report are listed in appendix II.

Sincerely yours,




Susan A. Fleming
Director
Physical Infrastructure Issues




Page 23                                             GAO-12-780 Federal Fleets
Appendix I: Federal Agencies’ and the
                              Appendix I: Federal Agencies’ and the General
                              Services Administration’s Roles and
                              Responsibilities for Federal Vehicles


General Services Administration’s Roles and
Responsibilities for Federal Vehicles
                              Federal agencies and the General Services Administration (GSA) have
                              distinct responsibilities regarding federal fleets. Federal agencies are
                              responsible for operating a fleet that enables them to fulfill their mission
                              and meet federal energy and fuel efficiency requirements. GSA’s role is to
                              promulgate regulations, develop guidance to help agencies manage their
                              fleets, help agencies procure affordable vehicles, and provide reports on
                              the federal fleet.


Primary Responsibilities of   Federal agencies are responsible for acquiring, maintaining, and
Federal Agencies              managing their vehicle fleets.

                              •   Vehicle acquisition. Federal agencies are responsible for making
                                  decisions about the number and type of vehicles they need and how
                                  to acquire them. Agencies obtain most of their vehicles through either
                                  GSA’s purchasing program, which is managed by GSA Automotive, or
                                  its leasing program, which is operated by GSA Fleet. GSA is a
                                  mandatory source for purchase of new vehicles for federal executive
                                  agencies and other eligible users. 1 In some instances, federal
                                  agencies may purchase specialized vehicles directly from the
                                  manufacturer with GSA approval or lease vehicles from commercial
                                  venders. 2 According to federal guidelines, when making acquisition
                                  decisions, agencies should purchase vehicles that meet their mission
                                  and represent the best value by taking into consideration price,
                                  greenhouse gas score, delivery time, fuel economy, life cycle cost,
                                  past performance, dealer and maintenance location, and optional
                                  equipment.

                              •   Vehicle maintenance. Federal agencies should develop a
                                  maintenance program for their vehicles to ensure that they meet
                                  federal and state safety and emissions standards and manufacturer
                                  warranty requirements and are operated and inspected as
                                  recommended by the manufacturer and required by local conditions.




                              1
                               41 C.F.R. § 101-26.501-1. These regulations do not require certain vehicles,
                              such as tactical vehicles, to be submitted to GSA for procurement.
                              2
                               Under unique circumstances, it may be advantageous for an agency to effect its
                              own procurement. GSA will grant waivers of procurement authority on a case-by-
                              case basis in accordance with the criteria set forth under GSA’s Federal Property
                              Management Regulations. 41 C.F.R. § 101-26.501-1(b), (c).




                              Page 24                                                  GAO-12-780 Federal Fleets
                   Appendix I: Federal Agencies’ and the General
                   Services Administration’s Roles and
                   Responsibilities for Federal Vehicles




                       For agencies that lease vehicles from GSA, GSA Fleet develops their
                       vehicle maintenance program.

                   •   Fleet management. Federal agencies determine when to replace or
                       dispose of vehicles based on federal vehicle replacement standards
                       and their mission and program needs. GSA has established minimum
                       standards that call for agencies to retain agency-owned vehicles for at
                       least a requisite number of years or miles. For example, an agency
                       should keep a sedan or station wagon for at least 3 years or 60,000
                       miles, whichever occurs first. It may keep the vehicle beyond the
                       minimum years and miles if the vehicle can be operated without
                       excessive maintenance or substantial reduction in resale value.
                       Conversely, it may replace a vehicle that has not yet met the
                       threshold if the vehicle needs body or mechanical repairs that exceed
                       the fair market value of the vehicle. Federal regulations allow
                       agencies to dispose of vehicles they no longer need and find to be in
                       excess of the agencies’ needs even if the vehicles have not met the
                       minimum replacement standards for years and mileage. 3 Agencies
                       may dispose of vehicles by using the exchange/sale authority
                       provided by title 40 of the United States Code, transferring them to
                       other agencies, selling them, or donating them. 4 For agencies that
                       lease vehicles, GSA Fleet manages the disposal process.

GSA’s Primary      GSA Automotive manages the vehicle purchasing program and offers an
Responsibilities   array of non-tactical vehicle products at a savings from the
                   manufacturer’s invoice price, including alternative fuel vehicles, sedans,
                   light trucks, ambulances, buses, and heavy trucks.

                   •   GSA Automotive purchases vehicles through the original equipment
                       manufacturer and has contracts with the manufacturers’
                       representative dealers with a variety of vehicle makes and models at
                       competitive prices.

                   •   GSA Automotive develops annual vehicle standards that establish the
                       types and sizes of vehicles and general equipment requirements it will
                       offer. The purpose of the federal vehicle standards is to achieve a



                   3
                   41 C.F.R. § 102-34.270.
                   4
                    See 41 C.F.R. § 102-34.300 for additional information regarding the disposal of
                   fleet motor vehicles.




                   Page 25                                                  GAO-12-780 Federal Fleets
Appendix I: Federal Agencies’ and the General
Services Administration’s Roles and
Responsibilities for Federal Vehicles




    practical degree of standardization within the federal government
    automotive fleet and to simplify the competitive procurement of
    vehicles.

•   GSA Automotive maintains an on-line procurement tool that allows the
    agency officials to view the standard vehicle models, choose
    equipment and color options, view side-by- side comparisons of
    vehicle models from different manufacturers, place their orders, and
    track delivery.
In fiscal year 2011, federal agencies ordered 54,964 vehicles costing
$1.36 billion through the on-line system.

GSA also manages the federal government’s vehicle-leasing program.
Federal agencies may approach GSA Fleet to lease some or all of the
vehicles they determine necessary to meet their mission and program
needs. 5 In certain instances, federal agencies may lease vehicles from
commercial sources without prior approval or permission from GSA. 6
After receiving an agency’s request to lease vehicles:

•   A GSA Fleet representative considers the type and number of
    vehicles requested, as well as the type of assignment, anticipated
    duration of the assignment, projected monthly mileage, and vehicle
    quantities, types, locations, and date required. Agencies are required
    to provide statements certifying that they have the funds to pay for the
    vehicles and that the top-level fleet manager concurs with the request.

•   GSA Fleet provides either used or new vehicles to the requesting
    agency. GSA does not guarantee that it will offer the agency a new
    vehicle; sometimes, vehicles returned from other agencies are the
    ones used to fill another agency’s request. However, GSA guarantees
    that even used vehicles will be in good mechanical and cosmetic
    condition. GSA Fleet procures new vehicles using GSA Automotive’s
    on-line procurement system. There are some vehicle types, such as


5
 GSA has authority to establish, maintain, and operate (including servicing and
storage) a fleet of motor vehicles for executive agencies to use for the
transportation of property and passengers. 40 U.S.C. § 602.
6
 According to GSA officials, an agency that lacks specific statutory authority to
purchase or hire passenger motor vehicles as required by 31 U.S.C. § 1343(b),
or has not been delegated leasing authority, is required to participate in the GSA
centralized leasing program.




Page 26                                                    GAO-12-780 Federal Fleets
Appendix I: Federal Agencies’ and the General
Services Administration’s Roles and
Responsibilities for Federal Vehicles




    fire trucks, that GSA Fleet does not lease, in part because they are so
    costly and specialized.

•   As part of the leasing arrangement, GSA Fleet provides maintenance,
    repairs, fuel, and accident claims management and gets reimbursed
    for these costs by the participating agencies. 7 Agencies pay a monthly
    fee to cover vehicle depreciation and fleet management costs, and
    pay a per-mile fee to cover fuel, maintenance, repair, and auction
    costs.

•   GSA Fleet replaces vehicles according to a pre-established schedule.
    A GSA Fleet representative monitors an agency’s fleet and measures
    the vehicles against a set of minimum standards (i.e., age and
    mileage) as well as condition and repair history. If the representative
    determines the vehicle is eligible for replacement, it will be replaced
    with the same type of vehicle unless the agency indicates its needs
    have changed and wants to acquire a different type of vehicle. In
    cases where the requested replacement vehicle is an upgrade to a
    more expensive vehicle, the agency must submit to GSA a written
    justification certifying the vehicle is mission essential.

•   Federal agencies may return leased vehicles that have not yet met
    the replacement requirement to GSA. In cases where GSA can
    transfer the vehicles to meet another agency’s requests immediately,
    the original leasing agency is no longer responsible for the leasing
    fees. In cases where GSA cannot immediately transfer the vehicles,
    the lessor agency may have to continue to make its payments. A GSA
    official noted that this occurs infrequently because typically it places
    vehicles within a month of receiving them.

•   Once the GSA Fleet representative determines vehicles should be
    replaced, he or she uses a nationwide network of commercial auction
    firms to sell and dispose of them. GSA uses the sales’ proceeds to
    help purchase new vehicles.




7
 The Federal Property Act, as amended, specifies how GSA is to set prices to
recover the costs of operating the fleet. GSA is to set prices “for furnishing motor
vehicles and related services…to recover, so far as practicable, all costs for
carrying out” the administration of the fleet program. GSA also may include an
increment for estimated replacement costs of motor vehicles and related
equipment and supplies. 40 U.S.C. § 605(b).




Page 27                                                     GAO-12-780 Federal Fleets
Appendix I: Federal Agencies’ and the General
Services Administration’s Roles and
Responsibilities for Federal Vehicles




In addition to its procurement activities, GSA establishes policies and
issues guidance to help agencies manage their fleets effectively and meet
other federal requirements. GSA promulgates federal management
regulations governing federal fleet operations. It also issues fleet
guidance in the form of bulletins and promotes interagency collaboration
through various committees and councils. While GSA believes it has the
authority to require agencies to follow its regulations and to issue
guidance, GSA officials indicated it lacked enforcement authority. One
official stated that it relies on the federal agencies’ Inspectors General to
take enforcement action when agencies do not comply with regulations.
GSA and the Department of Energy cosponsor the Federal Automotive
Statistical Tool (FAST), a Web-based reporting tool for agencies to report
fleet data. FAST is used to satisfy the reporting requirements of the
Energy Policy Act of 1992 and other statutory and regulatory mandates,
and GSA uses it to produce the annual federal fleet report.




Page 28                                               GAO-12-780 Federal Fleets
Appendix II: GAO Contact and Staff
                        Appendix II: GAO Contact and Staff
                        Acknowledgments



Acknowledgments

                        Susan A. Fleming, (202) 512-2834
GAO Contact
Staff Acknowledgments   In addition to the contact above, Maria Edelstein (Assistant Director), Gail
                        Marnik, Tina Paek, Russell Burnett, Jim Ungvarsky, Josh Ormond, and
                        Amy Rosewarne made key contributions to this report.




                        Page 29                                               GAO-12-780 Federal Fleets
Related GAO Products
             Related GAO Products




             Federal Acquisition: Increased Attention to Vehicle Fleets Could Result in
             Savings. GAO-04-664. Washington, D.C.: May 25, 2004.

             GSA Fleet: Information on the Effect of Donating Cars to YouthBuild USA
             and Potential Benefits to Rural Youthbuild Participants. GAO-07-153.
             Washington, D.C.: December 8, 2006.

             Federal Energy and Fleet Management: Plug-in Vehicles Offer Potential
             Benefits, but High Costs and Limited Information Could Hinder Integration
             into the Federal Fleet. GAO-09-493. Washington, D.C.: June 9, 2009.

             Opportunities to Reduce Potential Duplication in Government Programs,
             Save Tax Dollars, and Enhance Revenue. GAO-11-318SP. Washington,
             D.C.: March 1, 2011.

             United States Postal Service: Strategy Needed to Address Aging Delivery
             Fleet. GAO-11-386. Washington, D.C.: May 5, 2011.




(541085)
             Page 30                                              GAO-12-780 Federal Fleets
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