Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski wants to reduce use of the 1,300 sport/utility vehicles in the state's fleet, in an effort to improve efficiency and government accountability, reported The Oregonian newspaper on December 10. The governor's office says it intends to limit their use and start phasing out the less fuel-efficient vehicles, except where their size and off-road capability are required. The state has about 7,300 cars, vans and light-duty vehicles. State Senator Steve Harper, of Klamath Falls, told The Oregonian he would rather see the state get out of the motor pool business but, overall, is pleased with the effort. "I'd like to go faster and further if we could," Harper said. "But I appreciate Gov. Kulongoski doing that rather than just ignoring the problem. Every little bit helps, and I will take it where we can get it." Kulongoski's plan is for Administrative Services to control the purchasing, maintenance and management of vehicles for all but a handful of agencies. Cindy Becker, the agency's assistant director, said officials don't have solid information to estimate how much money that would save Oregon taxpayers. But they hope to halve the fixed overhead costs, which average about $60 a month per vehicle, and they expect to shrink the fleet by 10 percent. Also, officials will not buy any more sport/utility vehicles in the 2003-2005 budget period. Use of the existing SUVs — about 18 percent of the fleet — will be limited to employees who need one for cargo or passenger space, road conditions or weather purposes.

Originally posted on Fleet Financials