Senators Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-OK) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) have introduced a bill that would reduce the amount the federal government can spend on buying and leasing non-essential vehicles. It would cut the vehicle budget by 20% and save $500 million.
Currently, the federal vehicle fleet includes 662,000 cars, vans, sport-utility vehicles, trucks, buses and ambulances owned or leased by federal agencies that collectively use around 1 million gallons of fuel per day. The vehicle budget has increased by $1 billion since 2006.
The Senators are in agreement with the President’s debt commission that the vehicle fleet has become too large. One of the commission’s recommendations was to reduce the size of the federal fleet of vehicles.
“At a time when Americans have to stretch their dollars to fill up their gas tanks, it is wrong for the federal government to waste millions of dollars on non-essential federal vehicles. Enacting the recommendation of the president’s own debt commission to reduce the number of vehicles deemed non-essential should be an easy step. We simply can’t afford to spend money we don’t have on things we don’t need,” Coburn said.
“This is a commonsense place for us to cut wasteful spending,” Shaheen said. “The government’s vehicle budget has grown considerably over the last several years, and it just doesn’t make sense. There’s no reason for some of these agencies to own fleets of SUVs, which are expensive to own and to operate. The government can get by with fewer vehicles.”