Sen. Peters proposes to cut U.S. vehicle repair costs

David Shepardson
Detroit News Washington Bureau

Washington — Sen. Gary Peters is introducing his first bill in the Senate Wednesday — a measure to reduce the nearly $1 billion in annual federal vehicle repair costs by encouraging the use of remanufactured auto parts.

The Bloomfield Township Democrat, who took office in early January, and Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., introduced the proposal last year when they were both in the U.S. House.

“Upkeep on federal vehicles is a nearly $1 billion annual expense, and remanufactured auto parts are not only less expensive, they help save energy and reduce waste and pollution,” Peters said Wednesday. “I’m proud that the first bill I’m introducing in the Senate is a bipartisan, commonsense measure that will help save taxpayers money, promote conservation by remanufacturing parts and support remanufacturing suppliers in Michigan and across the country.”

Lankford said last year the bill was a “common-sense solution that implements cost-saving measures and improves our federal procurement procedures. Whenever we have an opportunity to make government work smarter and more efficiently, we should work together to do it. This bill accomplishes just that."

Remanufactured parts are often less expensive than new parts and have been returned to same-as-new condition. The parts including engines, transmissions, alternators and starters, are under full warranty. The bill requires all heads of federal agencies to encourage the use of remanufactured parts when doing so lowers costs, maintains quality and performance and does not compromise safety. The Motor and Equipment manufacturers Association endorsed the measure.

In December 2011, the pair sought a Government Accountability Office study on the potential for using remanufactured parts in order to reduce repair and maintenance costs of government vehicles. The GAO study released in March found that the parts present an opportunity to reduce vehicle repair and maintenance expenses. The federal government spends nearly $1 billion per year on repair and maintenance of 588,000 government vehicles.

Peters noted that the U.S. is the world’s largest producer, consumer, and exporter of remanufactured goods. Remanufacturing of motor vehicle parts creates 30,653 full-time U.S. jobs, while remanufacturing of off-road equipment creates an additional 20,870 jobs, he said.