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GAO report: Federal auto fleet up 7% in 6 years

y David Shepardson
Detriot News Washington Bureau
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Washington – The federal government’s fleet of automobiles has increased by 7 percent to 449,000 over the last six years as agencies buy more ethanol-powered vehicles, a government report found

The Government Accountability Office said in a report released Thursday that the number of vehicles increased from about 420,000 in 2005 to more than 449,000 vehicles — an increase of 29,000 vehicles.

Some agencies decreased their fleets, and the change in fleet size from agency to agency varied considerably. The biggest jump was at the Department of Veterans Affairs, which boosted the number of vehicles by 49 percent, adding about 5,400 vehicles.

The Department of Homeland Security saw its vehicle fleet increase by 48 percent, adding 18,200 vehicles.

Some agencies have tried to cut vehicle costs. The Air Force last year found 6,000 underutilized vehicles that if they eliminated could save the Air Force $500 million or more. Over the last year, the Air Force has cut 739 vehicles from their fleet.

Overall federal agencies increased the portion of their fleets made up of alternative fuel vehicles — vehicles that operate using ethanol or batteries — from about 14 percent to 33 percent from 2005 to 2011.

In addition, GAO found that 8 agencies account for 79 percent of total federal vehicles in fiscal year 2011, while 35 other agencies held the remaining 21percent.

Those figures don’t include postal vehicles and tactical military vehicles.

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