1. "Profit" Clearly, this was the wrong word to use – it aroused passions. Call it something else. Regardless of what you call it, the 50 cents per mile you are paid is nearly always greater than the incremental cost of the driving itself. Consider this: the last time you drove 100 miles on a pleasant Sunday afternoon, did it really cost you $50 more than if you had stayed home? Let’s be honest about this.
2. Insurance. I asked a Government attorney about this issue. She said that when a Government employee is driving a vehicle on Government business, then the Government is liable. Period. It makes no difference who owns the car. Private insurance is not involved.
Moreover, it goes beyond liablility. A Government employee using his own vehicle had a breakdown on the highway and had to have the car towed. The agency asked GAO if they could pay his related expenses. Answer: yes. Reference: Decision B-256331 at www.gao.gov
3. Depreciation. Depreciation is a function of time. The use of a privately owned vehicle does not increase depreciation. Other things being equal, an eight-year old car is worth less than a two-year old car. How they were used, or how many miles were driven, has nothing to do with depreciation.
Readers with objections seemed to miss a central point of the article, which was the program for committing to use your own vehicle would be voluntary. This means if you do not want to participate, you are not obliged. Voluntary.