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Washington — The U.S. Senate unanimously approved a measure to reduce the nearly $1 billion in annual federal vehicle repair costs by encouraging the use of remanufactured auto parts.

The bill was the first introduced by Sen. Gary Peters, D-Bloomfield Township, who took office in early January. The measure was co-sponsored by Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla. The pair introduced the proposal last year when they were both in the U.S. House.

Peters said the bill will “reduce wasteful spending, ensure tax dollars are being used efficiently and support the growing remanufacturing industry in Michigan and across the country.”

“When we fix federal vehicles, let’s also fix our federal budget,” Lankford said. “The Federal Vehicle Repair Cost Saving Act is a commonsense solution to conserve American taxpayer dollars while using good-as-new auto parts remanufactured in the U.S.”

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.

The bill now goes to the U.S. House.

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.

DShepardson@detroitnews.com

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