Government Vehicles - Agency Assigned Vehicles

General Agency Assigned Vehicle Questions

What types of vehicles must be purchased?
The NIH is not under the GSA Vehicle lease program; therefore, all vehicles must be purchased.

What are the things that I need to consider prior to purchasing a vehicle?
You need to consider the following:

  1. Do I really need an agency assigned vehicle or will the use of a daily rental vehicle, the NIH shuttle or metro accommodate my requirements?
    You should consider whether your vehicle needs are short term or long term. You should also consider the current resources available for transport (including the Motor Pool’s daily use rental vehicles, etc.) and why these may or may not be appropriate for use for your institute’s needs.
  2. Can I justify the purchase of an agency assigned vehicle based on my institute’s mission needs?
    You should consider your institute’s mission, the amount of time you expect to be using the vehicle on a daily or weekly basis (over the life of the vehicle) and what you will be using the vehicle to transport (i.e. personnel, animals).
  3. What type of vehicle should I order?
    The vehicle being considered should address the mission needs of your program.  This could be a car, minivan, van, pick-up truck, truck, trailer or special vehicle for medical, fire or maintenance services.  Please note if the vehicle being considered is manufactured as both a gasoline model and offered as an E-85/flex-fuel model, then it will be ordered with the E-85 alternative fuel option.

4. How much is the vehicle going to cost me?

GSA AutoChoice is a mandatory source for federal agencies to purchase new vehicles. GSA leverages the government's buying power to purchase more than $1 billion in vehicles and automotive products annually at significant savings for federal customers. AutoChoice allows us to configure vehicles and choose optional equipment, view side-by-side comparisons of vehicle manufacturers/models and calculate the total price.  Contact Mr. Mike Jones at to inquire about new vehicle makes, models, specs, current pricing, and an overview of the vehicle procurement process.

5. How much is it going to cost to maintain this vehicle?

All vehicles are enrolled in our preventative maintenance inspection (PMI) quarterly maintenance program.  This is a rigorous proactive contracted maintenance program that provides a full-service PMI to each NIH fleet vehicle every 3-months and is crucial to the safe operation and longevity of our HHS-owned government fleet.  Quarterly PMI costs will fluctuate depending on vehicle type, vehicle age, operator care/driving habits and OEM warranty status.  Historically a quarterly PMI cost could be somewhere in the $450-$750 range, if no other issues are discovered.  However, it’s not uncommon that the PMI will reveal other required repairs to keep the vehicle in a safe and serviceable condition.  As time goes on vehicle components like brake pads and rotors, tires, air conditioning systems, suspension components, etc. will need to be repaired and/or replaced, so ample funds should be budgeted to cover PMI and future repairs.  Additionally, a monthly administrative charge of $330.00 will be automatically billed (this will show in NBS as a “lease” charge although it’s really the admin fee).  This is a monthly fee paid to Fleet Management (which is a fee-for-service operation) for the life-cycle administrative management of your vehicle. When a vehicle is placed within the NIH fleet it must be accounted for and maintained in many automated systems such as the NIH MAXIMO System, Fuel Master System, Sunflower System, GSA FMVMIS System, NIH GPS Insight System, EZ Pass Maryland Vehicle Account, HHS Management System and Fuel Credit Card System.  Historical files must also be kept for every fuel, maintenance and repair action completed on each vehicle with higher-level annual vehicle utilization data reporting required by GSA, HHS and Executive Orders.  In addition to scheduling maintenance, repairs, safety recalls and warranty work, the Fleet Management staff is your full-scale liaison for all vehicle needs including fuel & oil, basic fluids like windshield washer, diesel exhaust, and coolant, car wash coupons, fleet credit cards, signing-out spare-keys onsite, paying traffic-camera speeding violations, facilitating accident cases and performing all final excess vehicle disposal and salvage actions.


Pre-Purchase Considerations

How do vehicle purchases occur?
When an IC makes a determination that an Agency assigned vehicle is required to support their mission needs, they can submit a request to the Fleet Management Office to purchase a vehicle.  In addition, should the IC determine that their current agency assigned vehicle no longer supports their mission due to program changes or the vehicle becoming obsolete, purchases occur through a one-for-one vehicle exchange.  In both instances, you will be required to submit a "needs justification" to justify your new or continuing need for an agency assigned vehicle. Click on the PDF file for specifics.

What is a one-for-one vehicle exchange?
This means that you can generally purchase a vehicle when you turn one in. Vehicles should be turned into the Fleet Management Section.  Turning a vehicle in, does not guarantee that you will be able to get another one. You must provide a needs justification for obtaining another vehicle.

What is a needs justification and when it is required?
A needs justification is a detailed explanation supporting your need for a new or replacement vehicle. A needs justification must adequately present your case for purchasing a vehicle in the event the vehicle type requested costs more than a lower priced GSA AutoChoice vehicle. GSA AutoChoice normally provides 3 choices of vehicles to choose from based on type.

What should I include in a vehicle justification?
Your justification must include a 1) memo header, 2) background institute information, 3) a vehicle justification, 4) contact information. and 5) CAN and estimated cost. A sample justification is provided below. You need only complete the areas in parentheses. *Italicized headings are included to assist you and should not be included with your justification.

SAMPLE JUSTIFICATION (on institute letterhead)

memo header
background institute information

The National Institute of (name of institute) at (location including building and city) is requesting that the Fleet Management Section(purchase) a (vehicle year-i.e. 2020) (vehicle type – i.e. sedan, minivan, truck…).

vehicle justification information

The vehicle will fulfill (types of mission-oriented requirements – i.e. contractual requirements, transport supplies, equipment, and correspondence, live or dead animals, and/or patients). The vehicle will be used (for what purposes – i.e. to travel from one location to the other, to pick up…, to deliver…). We anticipate vehicle usage to be (how often- quantify in days of week or month or by anticipated mileage or other usage amount).

pricing information

The estimated price of the vehicle is (provide amount obtained from Fleet Management). The (vehicle type-i.e. car, truck) purchase is to be charged to (CAN), (custodial code). Please notify me by (date of your choice) if the actual price differs from this amount so that funding can be adjusted as necessary.

contact information

If any further information is required, please call me or name of vehicle ordering contact at (ten digit phone number). My fax number is (ten-digit fax number). My email address is (email address). I (or vehicle ordering contact) will be actively handling this vehicle's purchase during the ordering process. After the vehicle is delivered, the contact person will be (name, phone, fax, and e-mail). (Please list anything else that you feel may be necessary.)

Printed Name

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Vehicle Ordering and Delivery/Pick Up

How do I purchase a vehicle?
Carefully consider the General Agency Assigned Vehicle Questions and the Pre-Purchase Considerations.  Email your request for a vehicle purchase noting if this is a new additional vehicle requirement or one-for-one exchange (new vehicle replacing old vehicle). Include your name, phone, email address, vehicle type (for passenger or animal transport, etc.) and vehicle justification to Mr. Mike Jones @ or call (301) 496-4512.

How long does it take to review my request once the needs justification is received?
The Fleet Management Purchasing Representative will review your request within 48 hours of receipt of your need’s justification.

Once my vehicle request is processed, how long will it take before I receive the vehicle?
The administrative process prior to sending the order usually takes about two weeks. Once the order is submitted, it should arrive to the manufacturer within one week. After manufacturer’s receipt.


  1. Light trucks and Sedans generally take about 90 days to delivery/pick up.
  2. Light trucks w/vocational bodies and vans generally take about 150 to 225 days to delivery/pick up.
  3. Medium, heavy trucks, and buses take about 150 to 245 days to delivery/pick up.
  4. Vehicles that have special equipment can take longer (i.e. police, fire) than 154 + days.

Please know that vehicles with complex options or modifications can take up to two years from drawing board to finish. These are general guidelines and neither NIH, GSA nor the manufacturer can be held responsible if your vehicle's manufacturing takes longer.

How can I get my standard vehicle in less than 90 days?
If an unexpected immediate priority precludes the IC from waiting for the routine procurement & delivery timeframe to elapse, the GSA Express Desk program may be an option.  The Express Desk Program processes vehicle requisitions for government agencies which are needed on an "Unusual and Compelling Urgency" basis (in accordance with Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) 6.302-2(c)). Agencies must provide justification for using the Express Desk Program, instead of waiting for the normal procurement cycle and delivery time. Prices will generally be higher than the established contract prices as the vehicles are purchased from dealership inventories, not directly from the manufacturer. The following points must be considered prior to requesting access to the Express Desk Program: GSA is the mandatory source for all non-tactical motor vehicles; GSA seeks open market sources of competition for the procurement; GSA encourages customers to provide the names of dealers within the delivery area to be solicited by GSA--there is no guarantee that a suggested source will receive a contract award; Customers should not negotiate terms and conditions with a potential contractor prior to sending in a requisition to GSA; After being advised by GSA about the price and any exceptions or clarifications covering the vehicle(s) solicited, agencies must expedite final decision--dealers generally do not hold vehicle(s) for more than 48 hours; The government's payment terms are always net 30 calendar days after receipt of a proper invoice; The GSA surcharge for Express Desk requisitions is one percent (1%), except during August and September, when the surcharge is five percent (5%); If a "brand specific" vehicle is required, a complete and comprehensive Justification for Other than Full and Open Competition (JOFOC) must be provided by the customer or the requisition will be rejected.  Instead of using the Express Desk program, a short-term rental/lease might be an option to bridge the gap and fill the immediate need while awaiting the new vehicle order to arrive via the routine procurement delivery timeframe.  For short term rentals through the Motor Pool contact Mr. Matt Fortier @ .

What happens when my vehicle arrives?
The Fleet Maintenance team performs "prep" services for your vehicle that are covered under your monthly administrative fee. These "prep" services include installing license plates, purchasing and affixing NIH property decals, installing the GPS telematics and EZ Pass transponders, coding and issuing the “Pro-Kee” fuel key, making and maintaining duplicate vehicle keys/fobs, placing operator guide, accident forms and registration packet in the glovebox and performing inspections and a test drive to ensure your vehicle’s operation and safety. Once new vehicle records have been created in all of the required automated systems, the Fleet team will contact you to arrange vehicle pick up.



Vehicle Usage, Operation, Violations, Accidents, Insurance and Disposal

How should I track my vehicle’s usage?
Internal tracking of vehicles is at the discretion of each IC.  This can be accomplished using a simple spreadsheet sign-out / sign-in log as a mechanism for keeping track of IC vehicle assets.  The NIH Form 1382-2 Motor Vehicle Trip Ticket is the formal document required by Fleet Management when an IC requests a Motor Pool vehicle rental, however this electronic form can also be utilized informally by ICs to facilitate the internal tracking and scheduling of IC vehicle assets.

Are there policies and procedures regulating the use of agency assigned government vehicles?
Yes. These policies and procedures are included in the Official Use of Government Motor Vehicles. This manual issuance reviews policy including who can operate a government vehicle and under what conditions, what vehicle operators are required to possess when operating a government vehicle, things that are prohibited when operating a government vehicle and operator responsibilities during vehicle operation. This manual issuance also reviews the procedures for obtaining a vehicle, returning a vehicle, obtaining fuel for vehicles, obtaining repair service for government vehicles, the Preventive Maintenance Inspection (PMI) Program, and security procedures for vehicles.

Are there other policies and procedures that I should know about when operating a vehicle?
Yes. Included in every vehicle is the Government Vehicle Operator’s Guide – Responsibility, Service Requirements and Emergency Procedures. This guide provides information on the driver’s responsibilities, fueling and servicing, emergency repair procedure, accident reporting procedure and what to do if there is damage to your government owned vehicle.

What if I get a ticket while I am using the vehicle?
The employee who is operating the vehicle is responsible for parking violations and any other moving violations.

What happens if I am in an accident in my agency assigned vehicle?
Immediately assess the scene for injuries and contact 911 for emergencies or 311 for non-injury accidents.  Don’t admit any fault when speaking with the other person involved, just trade contact and insurance information.  Annotate the other person’s insurance policy information on the SF91 accident form located in an envelope in the vehicle’s glove compartment or center console.  As far as information to provide to the other driver, the government is self-insured and the contact # for claims against NIH is 301-496-2387.  Obtain any witness statements using the SF94 or plain bond paper.  The driver should contact the IC’s supervisor to report the accident and relay the situation to the on-duty Fleet Management staff at 301-496-4511 so a damage assessment can be done, and a tow-truck can be requested if needed.  The driver should also take pictures of the accident scene and pictures of the vehicle damages.  Lastly the driver should make sure to get an Incident # from the Police and annotate this on the SF91.  All accident documentation then needs to be promptly scanned and emailed to Fleet Management by sending to .

Is my agency assigned vehicle insured? Are my employees insured?
The Government is self-insured, and government employees are covered under workers compensation. If a Government vehicle is involved in an accident and the Government is found to be at fault, then your institute is responsible for having the vehicle repaired/replaced and for any other damages incurred. If the Government is not at fault, then the Government will ask for damages from the other party’s insurance company.

What happens if I want to dispose of my vehicle?
When a vehicle has reached the end of its serviceable life expectancy, is no longer economical to maintain or has just become excess to IC requirements it will be salvaged.  The Fleet Management staff will handle all physical and administrative steps to process the vehicle out of the active fleet and salvage it through GSA.  Contact Mr. Matt Fortier to initiate vehicle disposal actions.



Temporary Vehicle Loaners

When can I get a temporary loaner?
When your agency assigned vehicle has a breakdown or is undergoing maintenance or repair work.

Does a loaner cost me anything?
Maintenance loaners are provided at a discounted rate on an as needed basis only after Fleet Management receives an email from the vehicle’s assigned point of contact (POC) officially requesting the loaner.  Daily rates will be $42 for sedan, $56 for pickup truck, $84 for minivan and $112 for 15-passenger van when GOV assets are available within the Loaner & Motor Pool fleet.  Rates may be higher if the loaner is sourced commercially.

What do I need to do to get a temporary loaner?
The vehicle’s assigned POC must send an email titled “Loaner Request” addressed to both and .  The email needs to identify the vehicle by Tag #, if other vehicle types will suffice as a suitable substitute and acknowledge the IC CAN will be billed loaner charges.  For example, “Request a loaner for minivan C2599 that’s due for PMI next week.  If a loaner minivan is not available, we can make do with a sedan or pickup truck as a loaner.  I acknowledge our CAN will be billed loaner charges.  Thanks.  -Randy, C2599 Vehicle POC”.


Feedback and Contact Information

How can I provide feedback on the services that I received from the Fleet Support Team? You may email your comments to .