320 FW 2
Motor Vehicle Acquisition Planning and Standards

Supersedes 320 FW 2, FWM 073, 03/11/93

Date:  October 31, 2008, as amended 03/01/2013

Series: Vehicle and Equipment Management

Part 320: Motor Vehicle Management

Originating Office: Division of Contracting and Facilities Management



PDF Version


2.1 What is the purpose of this chapter? This chapter describes:


A. The Service requirements for analysis and planning prior to acquiring a motor vehicle.


B. The standards each Region uses to:


(1) Comply with Service fleet management goals,


(2) Evaluate motor vehicle use,


(3) Replace vehicles, and


(4) Maximize fuel efficiency.


2.2 What is the scope of this chapter? This chapter applies to all motor vehicles we own, lease, and manage through other means, including motor vehicles we obtain from the General Services Administration (GSA) Interagency Fleet Management System.


2.3 What are the authorities for this chapter? See 320 FW 1.3 for a list of authorities for all the chapters in Part 320.


2.4 What terms do you need to know to understand this chapter? See 320 FW 1.5 if you need a definition for a term used in this chapter.


2.5 Who is responsible for motor vehicle acquisition planning? We describe our general responsibilities for motor vehicle management in 320 FW 1.6. Following are our specific responsibilities for day-to-day motor vehicle acquisition planning.


A. The Chief, Division of Contracting and Facilities Management (CFM):


(1) Establishes a Servicewide method to:


(a) Evaluate vehicle utilization versus utilization standards in Exhibit 1, and operating and maintenance costs, and


(b) Determine life-cycle cost and replacement guidelines for motor vehicles.  


(2) Ensures that motor vehicle acquisitions are in compliance with applicable Executive Orders (E.O.), laws, and policies, including the requirements for:


(a) Adequate justifications for acquiring vehicles,


(b) Use of alternative fuels,


(c) Reductions in petroleum fuel use,


(d) Alternative fuel purchases, and


(e) Vehicle minimum specifications and costs.


(3) Reviews Service vehicle performance data to ensure accuracy and timely submission and makes requests to Regions to correct data when necessary.


(4) Submits vehicle performance information to the Department as required.


B. Regional Property Managers:


(1) Implement vehicle acquisition and planning efforts for their Regions.


(2) Ensure that vehicle acquisitions, leases, repairs, and replacements are consistent with the requirements in this chapter, the 5-Year Fleet Plan, and applicable E.O.s, laws, and policies.


C. Accountable Officers:


(1) Analyze field station transportation needs, prepare justifications and specifications for acquiring vehicles, and initiate the acquisition process.


(2)  Ensure the requested vehicle is the minimum specification and model necessary to meet mission requirements and is the most fuel efficient (Alternative Fuel Vehicles (AFV), hybrids, and diesel) and cost-effective model available to reduce the environmental impact and petroleum fuel use.


(3) Ensure vehicle replacements are within policy standards listed in Exhibit 2 for replacement and Exhibit 3 for repairs.


D.  Program Fleet Coordinators:


(1) Oversee day-to-day fleet activities for their Program to ensure alignment with Service fleet management goals.


(2) Act as liaison between the Program and Regional Property Manager.


(3) Ensure that every vehicle we buy, lease, or manage through other means is essential to the performance of the Program’s mission.


2.6 What are the basic steps Accountable Officers must consider when buying or leasing motor vehicles? 


A. Check for compliance with applicable laws and regulations, E.O.s, Departmental fleet policy (see the Department of the Interior Asset Management Plan), and the 5-Year Fleet Plan to ensure an acquisition or lease meets legal and policy requirements.


B. Check with the Regional Property Manager to ensure that before buying or leasing any new or replacement motor vehicle, there are no underutilized vehicles available in the Region. (See Exhibit 1 for our standards for vehicle utilization.)


C. Determine mission requirements and transportation options and order the least expensive vehicle with the minimum specifications, body type and size, engine and optional equipment to meet the mission. Considerations include:


(1)  Cargo,


(2)  Passengers,


(3)  Combination and percentage of cargo and passengers (e.g., 70/30 percent passenger/cargo use),


(4)  Application and terrain (e.g., hauling special equipment or off road use), and


(5)  Special uses (e.g., tanker truck).


D. Determine the duration of need including:


(1)  Short-term or seasonal use,


(2)  Mid-term (2 to 3 years) use,


(3)  Long-term, frequent use, and


(4)  Periodic use.


E.  Consider ownership alternatives such as:


(1)  Using Personally-Owned Vehicles (POVs), vehicle cooperatives, and short-term rentals for short-term or seasonal needs (e.g., volunteer programs).


(2)  Leasing for projects with defined end dates (usually 2 to 3 years).


F.  Minimize environmental impacts by making use of fuel-saving technologies wherever possible and ordering the smallest and most efficient vehicles to satisfy those mission requirements.


G. Prepare a cost analysis of options based on total acquisition and operational costs for the determined duration. See Exhibit 4 for examples.


H.  Complete the justification form provided by the Regional Property Manager.


2.7 What colors may I select when ordering a motor vehicle?


A. The color for Service vehicle orders is the manufacture’s standard production white. 


B. Law Enforcement Special Agents are exempt from this standard.


C. Refuge Law Enforcement vehicles are also exempt, having different color standards described in 451 FW 1.


D. Fire programs may determine a standard color based on inter-agency agreements and previous operating procedures.


2.8 What are the Service’s standards for replacing motor vehicles?


A. The Accountable Officer may dispose of or replace vehicles when they meet either the years or mileage minimum standards in Exhibit 2.


B. Even if the standards in Exhibit 2 would allow us to dispose of or replace a vehicle, we should keep it if:


(1) It is in safe, usable condition, and


(2) We can operate it without excessive maintenance cost or substantial reduction in trade-in value.


C. The Accountable Officer may replace vehicles before they meet the standards in Exhibit 2 under the following conditions:


(1) Because of excessive repair costs (see section 2.9).


(2) High mileage vehicles such as those used for law enforcement. The Accountable Officer may replace these vehicles after the second year of operation if they have accrued at least 60,000 miles. This exception applies only to sedans, station wagons, and light trucks.


(3) Vehicles exposed to environmental (rough terrain) or chemical elements (such as salt or sea water) may become unsafe to operate. Qualified personnel or a mechanic should inspect these vehicles to identify necessary repairs. If repairs exceed the limitations in section 2.9, the Accountable Officer can dispose of the vehicle if he/she has written documentation that supports the disposal decision.


2.9 What are the limitations the Service establishes for repairing vehicles instead of replacing them? We decide whether to repair or replace a vehicle by analyzing the vehicle’s age and what percentage the repair cost is of the value of the vehicle. See Exhibit 3.  


A. Once the repair cost exceeds the economic value of the vehicle (see Exhibit 3), the Accountable Officer should replace the vehicle unless replacement is impractical.


B. The Accountable Officer may replace a vehicle that is wrecked or damaged beyond economical repair limits (including wear caused by abnormal operating conditions) without regard to the normal replacement standards. The Accountable Officer must document the damaged condition and over-the-limit vehicle repair cost before replacing it.


2.10 How does a Region determine how many motor vehicles a Program or the Region may have? The Regional baseline number of vehicles for each Program equals the overall vehicle inventory at the end of each fiscal year. Each Region must:


A.  Control the size of Program fleets and the Region’s fleet at the established baseline.


B.  Based on a mission justification, obtain approval from the Regional Director to add vehicles to the baseline for a Program or the Region.  


2.11 May vehicles be acquired for the exclusive use of one person?  Regions may not acquire a motor vehicle for the exclusive use of one person unless that person’s work requires daily use of a specifically-configured motor vehicle that must be immediately available for his/her use at all timesAn example might be a motor vehicle with special equipment to facilitate the work of a disabled wildlife biologist performing time-sensitive, year-round population studies.


2.12 Are there any restrictions on the size and type of vehicles the Service may acquire? Yes.


A. The Accountable Officer must buy motor vehicles with the minimum body size, engine size, and operational equipment necessary to meet the mission need.


B. The Accountable Officer and the Regional Property Manager must justify and certify that it is essential to our mission to allow exceptions to the size restrictions for sedans and station wagons. They also must get approval to make an exception before acquiring the motor vehicle(s). Before making an exception, he/she must send a request and justification to:


(1) The Chief, CFM for concurrence.


(2) If the Chief, CFM concurs, he/she sends the request for approval of the exception to the Department’s Director – Office of Acquisition and Property Management.


(3) If the Director – Office of Acquisition and Property Management approves the exception, he/she sends a certification to GSA that the exception is essential.


2.13 Am I required to purchase or lease an Alternative Fuel Vehicle (AFV)Complying with E.O. 13423 and the Energy Policy Act (1992 and 2005) is the responsibility of each Program and Region as outlined in the Transportation Management Scorecard (see Exhibit 1, 320 FW 1). 


A.  To encourage the use of alternative fuels, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) requires that we annually acquire a certain number of alternative fuel reporting credits. Table 2-1 shows how we earn the credits.


B. We must purchase AFVs in areas that the Energy Policy Act covers to net credits (see Table 2-1) for all light duty vehicle acquisitions (8,500 GVWR or less). The Energy Policy Act’s covered areas relate to high population centers. We are exempt for vehicle purchases that are outside of these areas and for Law Enforcement vehicles.


Table 2-1: Alternative Fuel Vehicle Reporting Credits


Vehicles Earning Credits

Number of credits for AFVs 100% dedicated to alternative fuel use

Number of credits for dual/flex/or bi-fuel AFVs

Light-duty vehicle (sedans, station wagons, and light trucks)



Medium-duty vehicle



Heavy-duty vehicle



Fuel Earning Credits

Bio-diesel fuel

1 credit for every 450 gallons of pure biodiesel used in vehicles.

1 credit for bi-fuel, but only up to 50% of the Energy Policy Act requirement. 0 credits for the petroleum portion of biodiesel fuel blends.


C. The Regional Property Manager annually reports this information to the Chief, CFM, and the Chief, CFM reports the information to OMB.


For information on the content of this chapter, contact the Division of Contracting and Facilities Management. For additional information about this Web site, contact Krista_Bibb, in the Division of Policy and Directives Management.  

Directives Home

PDM Websites: Centralized Library of Servicewide Policies | FWS Forms | PDM Services

Privacy, Disclaimer and Copyright Information | Information Quality Act

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Home Page | Department of the Interior  |  | About the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service  | Accessibility  | Privacy  | Notices  | Disclaimer  | FOIA