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Study Shows Employees Over-Report Mileage by As Much as 32 Percent as Gas Prices Rise

October 4, 2011

STERLING, VA – A new study from a workforce management company called Natural Insight shows a strong correlation between rising gas prices and employees over-reporting mileage in expense reports.

During a six-month period, Natural Insight found employee over-reporting of mileage increased to as much as 32 percent over the actual number of miles traveled as gas prices reached their peak. Even when gas prices were at their lowest level during the six-month period, employees still over-reported mileage by 18 percent. Natural Insight said employees are trying to recoup fuel-related costs by over-reporting mileage. On average, over-reporting of mileage ran at 24 percent throughout the study period.

"While businesses are supportive of proper worker expense compensation, over-reporting on expense reports is more common than we expected to see and certainly presents a large opportunity for cost reduction if properly identified. Accuracy in reporting of mileage is the issue here. As actual fuel costs rise and fall, corporate reimbursement rates can work for and against the worker since guidelines are typically set on an annual basis," said Stefan Midford, President and CEO of Natural Insight.

The study ran from January 1 through mid-July of 2011. It draws upon a statistically-valid sample of more than 2,000 days’ worth of individual worker data, according to Natural Insight. In multiple examples, increases and decreases in fuel costs of up to $0.39 were matched by the incidence of over-reporting percentage in a nearly identical range.

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