It isn’t cheap to keep the federal government’s large fleet of cars and trucks out of the shop.
The U.S. government spends nearly $1 billion annually maintaining its 588,000 vehicles, the Government Accountability Office said in an audit released Thursday.
In the 2011 fiscal year, the administration spent $975 million on maintenance.
The report looked at whether federal agencies use original or re-manufactured parts to fix vehicles and found that agencies have different policies on whether to use them.
Re-manufactured parts are generally cheaper. The U.S. Postal Service said it “relies heavily on the re-manufacturing industry to sustain our vehicles.”
The report also found that different agencies have older fleets. The U.S Postal Service’s fleet of nearly 210,000 vehicles is on average 16.2 years old, while Homeland Security’s 48,917 vehicles are 4 years old on average.
The General Services Administration’s fleet of 200,000 vehicles is 3.5 years old on average and needs far less maintenance than other fleets. GSA provides vehicles for lease to many federal agencies.
Different agencies set different thresholds for supervisors to approve repairs. The Drug Enforcement Agency requires approval for repairs over $250, while Immigration and Customs Enforcement requires supervisor approval for repairs of more than $2,500.
Some agencies like the FBI, U.S. Postal Service and Customs and Border Patrol use in-house garages for some maintenance and repair work.