Michigan State Employees Drive Far Fewer Miles During Pandemic

LANSING – State employees are driving far fewer miles on government business during the pandemic, resulting in millions of dollars in reduced costs, state records show.

But those savings were more than offset by higher costs for vehicles, parts, labor, and fuel, and the state’s overall fleet costs remained relatively stable at nearly $ 76 million. dollars, a spokesperson said.

The state owned or leased 13,124 vehicles as of September 30, according to a November report. This is a decrease from 13,637 vehicles in 2019.

In fiscal 2021, state vehicles used just under 6 million gallons of fuel to travel approximately 91.3 million kilometers, according to state records. That is down sharply from 2019, before the pandemic began, when state vehicles used about 7.2 million gallons of fuel to travel just over 128 million kilometers, records show.

More dramatic reductions have been observed in the area of ​​reimbursements paid to government employees who use their own vehicles to travel on government business.

The state paid just under $ 2 million in mileage reimbursements for the 2021 fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, according to a report filed by the Department of Technology, Management and Budget.

This is an 88% drop from the nearly $ 3.7 million the state paid in fiscal 2020 and more than 220% from the nearly $ 6.4 million the state paid in fiscal 2020. State paid for personal mileage in 2019.

State employees used their own vehicles to travel just under 4.6 million kilometers in 2021, up from around 15.7 million kilometers in 2019, according to the records.

While many state vehicles are assigned to specific employees, the state also maintains engine pools in Lansing, Detroit, Grand Rapids, Flint, Traverse City, and Escanaba for trips of 14 days or less. The number of vehicles in these fleets has been reduced to 213 in 2021 from 320 in 2019, according to the records.

In 2021, state employees made 8,851 motor pool trips to cover about 1.1 million kilometers, according to records. This is down from 44,289 motor pool trips and nearly 6.2 million miles in 2019.

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Despite the reduced mileage, total state fleet costs have remained relatively stable, said Caleb Buhs, spokesperson for the Ministry of Technology, Management and Budget.

Total costs in fiscal 2019 were $ 74.3 million, but this year’s total was unusually lower than it normally would be, due to a one-time reduction of $ 2.2 million insurance costs, due to a surplus that year in the state self-insurance fund. , says Buhs. The total cost of the fleet was $ 75.7 million in 2020 and $ 76.1 million in 2021, he said.

“Any savings resulting from a reduction in kilometers related to the pandemic in fiscal years 20 and 21 were offset by the increase in fuel costs, maintenance (parts and labor) and the overall cost. vehicles, ”Buhs said in an email.

“We do not yet have a good indication of how the departments will adapt their needs for fleet vehicles after the pandemic,” he said. “There has been an increase in the number of kilometers driven recently, but it is too early to predict whether the mileage will return to the number before the pandemic.”

Contact Paul Egan: 517-372-8660 or [email protected] Follow him on twitter @ paulegan4. Learn more about Michigan politics and sign up for our election newsletter.

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