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PREFACE 0. Preface
Fleet Organization, Mission, and Responsibilities 1. Fleet Organization, Mission, and Responsibilities
Performance Metrics 2. Performance Metrics
Official Use of Vehicles 3. Official Use of Vehicles
Asset Management 4. Asset Management
Vehicle Acquisition 5. Vehicle Acquisition
5.1 Acquisition Alternatives
5.1.1 Purchase Versus Lease
5.1.2 Purchasing New Vehicles
5.1.3 Purchasing Used Vehicles
5.1.4 GSA Leasing
5.1.5 Commercial Leasing
5.1.6 Rentals
5.1.7 Demonstration Equipment
5.2 Ordering Vehicles
5.2.1 Vehicle Size
5.2.2 Vehicle Specifications
5.2.3 Alternative Fuel Vehicle Program
5.2.4 Vehicle Replacement Schedule by Class
5.3 New Vehicle Deliveries, Marking, and Registration
5.3.1 In-Servicing
5.3.2 Exchange of Old Vehicle for New Replacement
5.3.3 Record-Keeping Requirements
5.3.4 New Vehicle Acceptance
5.3.5 Vehicle Identification Systems
5.3.6 New Vehicle Quality Assurance
5.4 Acquisition of Medium and Heavy Duty Versus Light Duty Vehicles
Alternative Fueled Vehicles 6. Alternative Fueled Vehicles
Fleet Maintenance 7. Fleet Maintenance
Vehicle Disposal 8. Vehicle Disposal
Fuel Management 9. Fuel Management
Contractor Use of Government Vehicles 10. Contractor Use of Government Vehicles
Forms and Reports   Driver's Handbook
Forms and Reports   Forms and Reports
Reference Materials   References
Abbreviations, Acronyms, and Definitions   Abbreviations, Acronyms, and Definitions
Useful Web Links   Web Links
Frequently Asked Questions   FAQ


NASA Official Fleet Management Handbook

Vehicle Acquisition

Acquisition Alternatives

Purchase Versus Lease

The decision whether to purchase or lease can involve several factors, but the key things that affect the decision are expected utilization, and expected retention cycle. If a vehicle has moderate to high utilization, then a GSA lease with a relatively short term (3 to 6 years) may be the best approach. If, however, utilization is fairly low and retention cycles are expected to be longer than GSA leasing cycles, it may be better to purchase the vehicle because the acquisition cost is spread over a long period of time. The NASA Agency Transportation Manager can provide guidance to help perform a detailed purchase versus lease analysis.

Purchasing New Vehicles

New vehicle requirements shall be coordinated with the CTO, who can assist with the evaluation of the job to be performed with the vehicle and the development of appropriate vehicle specifications. As stated in NPR 6200.1B, the CTO will annually validate the type and quantity of vehicles for Government-owned, contractor-operated vehicles. Contractors shall coordinate new vehicle requirements through the CTO.

Purchasing Used Vehicles

Procurement of used vehicles may be appropriate in cases where expected utilization does not justify the initial cost of a new vehicle. For example, if a large crane truck is essential to the Center’s mission but only needed for an hour each day, and rental units are either unavailable or very inconvenient to obtain and return, it may be better to purchase a used crane truck that is in good condition. Purchase of used vehicles will be processed in the same manner as new vehicle procurement.

GSA Leasing

The CTO authorizes the use of Government-owned or leased vehicles to support NASA customers. The most economical and efficient means of transportation shall be provided in all cases. Contractor use of GSA vehicles will be addressed in Chapters 9 and 10.

Commercial Leasing

Commercial leases shall only be used when that approach has been determined to be the most cost-effective alternative to providing customer support. Otherwise, only NASA-owned and GSA vehicles will be utilized. Commercial leases should be established when determined to be cost effective Recurrent use of commercial rentals/leases (i.e. “back to back”) to bypass standard acquisition procedures and TV standards is strictly prohibited. The CTO shall be notified regarding all commercial leases and shall track the types, quantities, and duration of such leases in order to evaluate the need for additional vehicle resources for the Center. See paragraph 1.3.6 and chapter 10 and 11 for more details on vehicle assignment for contractors.


A rental is normally classified as a contractual arrangement for less than 60 days. Centers may use these arrangements to meet emergent or peak work-load requirements without regard to established vehicle allowances. Other customer requirements should also be met with rentals especially where utilization does not justify a full time assignment. The CTO shall be notified regarding all vehicle rentals and shall track the types, quantities, and duration of rentals in order to evaluate the need for additional vehicle resources for the Center.

Demonstration Equipment

Demonstrations of new types of vehicles by vendors for the purpose of evaluating their functionality is highly discouraged.

Ordering Vehicles

Vehicle Size

The lightest and most fuel efficient vehicle that fully meets the needs of any customer requirement shall be acquired; however, vehicle total life cycle cost analysis methods should be employed where appropriate to assure the most economical vehicle is selected.

Vehicle Specifications

Prior to vehicle procurement, the CTO should coordinate with vehicle users to determine specific requirements. This can also be accomplished during annual utilization reviews. Once requirements have been identified, they can then be developed into specifications to be forwarded to the applicable procuring agency for acquisition, provided funding is available. In some cases where new or specialized types of vehicles or equipment are being specified, the CTO should require approval of the specification by an appropriate manager of the using department.

Alternative Fuel Vehicle Program

Vehicle acquisitions must take into account the provisions of the Energy Policy Act (EPAct) of 1992 and Executive Order (E.O.) 13149. These documents set forth the statutory requirements for the acquisition of AFVs by Federal agencies. The requirements emphasize that in fiscal year 2000 and beyond, 75% of light duty vehicle acquisitions in covered fleets must be AFVs. Annual EPAct and E.O. 13149 compliance is reported through FAST.

Vehicle Replacement Schedule by Class

Vehicle replacement plans will be developed annually for all vehicles in the inventory. For GSA vehicles, this plan will be developed in time to meet their procurement cycle, normally starting in October of each year. It is recommended that Centers develop 5-year replacement funding plans in order to help predict the peaks and valleys in procurement funding needs for all NASA-owned vehicles (see Preface section P3 for definition of the fleet).

New Vehicle Deliveries, Marking, and Registration

New vehicles received in the inventory shall be prepared and placed in service within 15 working days after receipt.


In-Servicing refers to the process of bringing a newly delivered vehicle into the fleet. For GSA vehicles, the CTO will be notified when vehicles are due for replacement and the new vehicles have been received. Vehicle users should be notified to retrieve the vehicle from the proper location and report copies of the paperwork and credit card information to the CTO. The CTO or contractor-assigned personnel will acknowledge receipt of owned vehicles and add them to inventory records.

Exchange of Old Vehicle for New Replacement

Vehicles that have been replaced shall be terminated as soon as possible. It is recognized that GSA vehicles must be inspected by the FMC prior to turn in to ensure damage has not occurred beyond fair wear and tear.

Record-Keeping Requirements

The following data elements shall be collected completely and accurately for every vehicle and stored electronically in separate data fields and kept with NASA Records Retention NASA 1441:

  • Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)
  • License Number
  • Year
  • Make
  • Model Name
  • Model Number
  • Vehicle Type (e.g. Passenger Van, or Pickup)
  • Color
  • Odometer Type (Miles, or Hours, or Both)
  • Odometer Reading at Delivery
  • Total Acquisition Cost (For Owned Units)
  • Acquisition Date (Date Purchased or New to NASA Fleet)
  • In Service Date (Date delivered to end user)

Note that additional data elements may be necessary (for example, lifting capacity of a crane or forklift).

New Vehicle Acceptance

When a new vehicle arrives, it should be thoroughly inspected concurrently by the CTO and a representative of the using department to verify that it conforms to the purchase specifications. Discrepancies should be noted and reported to the proper office. If possible, the vehicle should be test driven and special equipment should be test operated by a trained operator. Arrangements should be made for operator training if appropriate.

Vehicle Identification Systems

The most basic and essential identification number for any vehicle or piece of equipment is the manufacturer’s VIN. A unique NASA “Vehicle Number” shall also be assigned to every fleet unit so that, in the event of a consolidation of NASA fleet data, there will be no duplicates. For vehicles carrying a NASA or GSA license plate, the license number shall serve as the NASA Vehicle Number to be used in fleet management information systems and most reports.

New Vehicle Quality Assurance

The CTO shall ensure that all new vehicles delivered to customers are properly prepared and free of defects. When a vehicle fails to meet the specification, reports shall be prepared and forwarded to the appropriate office for resolution.

Acquisition of Medium and Heavy Duty Versus Light Duty Vehicles

Prior to acquiring medium and heavy duty vehicles, comprehensive analyses should be done, as these resources are expensive and cause a significant drain on capital and operating budgets, especially when they are procured and then underutilized. Evaluation regarding utilization of these assets is accomplished during the annual utilization review and more frequently if the CTO deems it necessary.


Page: 5. Vehicle Acquisition - Chapter View

Last Updated: 08/30/2005 05:02 PM