U.S. Government Spent $3.4 Billion On Vehicle Fleet Last Year, Isn't Sure Why

The federal government fleet now totals 642,233 vehicles and cost taxpayers $3.4 billion last year, according to the AP by way of the Detroit News. As one might expect, the government doesn't know exactly why it has so many cars and trucks — even within individual agencies, the report states, some vehicles sit unused and one has even disappeared entirely. In other cases, agencies were told to cut their fleets but instead added vehicles. On top of that, high-level officials pay drivers — multiple drivers, in the case of Transportation Secretary Mary Peters — exorbitant salaries. How exorbitant?

Ms. Peters' drivers combined earn about $128,000 per year; at $64,000 apiece, that's not too shabby work if you can get it. We still wonder why she needs two, though — perhaps it's a perk of being Transportation Secretary? On the other hand, Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt employs a driver who earns about $90,000 a year. Add to that the cost of fuel, maintenance, and the purchase cost of what is almost certainly a black Suburban, and Mr. Leavitt is costing us about $150,000 per year for driving support staff for a glorified ribbon-cutter. Well, why shouldn't we — what with all the outstanding health and human services we get here. [Detroit News; Photo Credit: Toypost UK]