Program extends value of university vehicle purchases

Oct 2nd, 2008 | By | Category: Campus News, October 2, 2008

When the university purchases a vehicle, the decision is based on more than just fuel mileage.

To extend the value of new vehicles, Transportation Services officials compile a lifecycle cost analysis on each purchase. The analysis factors in purchase cost, resale value, cost of preventative maintenance (brakes, tires, belts, etc.) and fuel mileage – among other items.

The average life of a vehicle is six years. Pickup life spans are eight years.

“If you put it on a graph, capital costs are a downward trend and operating costs are a slowly increasing line,” said Patrick Barrett, director of Transportation Services. “In our experience, the cost of operation reaches the depreciation value at about six years.”

While hybrids like the Toyota Prius are an attractive option in fuel efficiency, Barrett said they are not yet a real option for the university.

“We can only dispose of vehicles through sealed bids or public auctions,” Barrett said. “When it comes to hybrids, individuals come out OK after they run it for two years, then sell it for a high price.”

That scenario presents two problems. The short timeframe increases the distance between capital costs and operating costs, resulting in the need to recoup more in a resale. And, UNL is limited on resale prices as they must be completed through sealed bid or auction.

“Right now, hybrids are not a good option for the university,” said Barrett. “But, they are something we continue to consider.”

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