Business Services Policies

BS18 Procurement or Acquisition of Light-Duty Motor Vehicles (8,500 GVW or less) [Formerly Procurement of Passenger Vehicles]

Policy Status: 


Policy Steward: 

Associate Vice President for Auxiliary & Business Services


  • Purpose
  • Policy
  • Scope and Authority
  • Further Information

    To set forth the University’s policy with regard to the procurement (ownership or lease) or acquisition of any licensed, light-duty motor vehicles for the principle purpose of transporting University personnel or equipment on University business.  Departments should use the Transportation Services’ Fleet Operations for Vehicle Rentals both short-term and long-term except in extenuating circumstances that are pre-approved by Fleet Operations.

    The University is identified as a “State Fleet” for purposes of compliance with the Department of Energy’s Alternative Fuel Transportation Program.  As such, all light-duty motor vehicles purchased, leased or acquired by the University to include the Commonwealth Campuses must comply with the Alternative Fuel Transportation Program.


    Prior to any purchase, lease or acquisition (i.e. grants, sponsored programs, gifts, research) of any new or used licensed, light-duty vehicles  defined as any vehicle 8,500 (lbs.) gross vehicle weight or less prior to any aftermarket conversion, all University departments must obtain pre-approval for said purchase, lease or acquisition from Transportation Services’ Manager of Fleet Vehicles.  This is required in order to ensure the University’s compliance with the Department of Energy’s reporting requirements.  Once approval is obtained, the purchase, lease or acquisition process may proceed unless otherwise indicated during the pre-approval process.  Acquisition means to take a vehicle into possession or control.  Acquisitions include donated vehicles or sponsor- provided vehicles which will be titled and licensed by the University.

    The Department of Purchasing Services is responsible for the procurement and/or lease of ALL University light-duty motor vehicles.   Therefore, a purchase order must be submitted for all purchases or leases.  The definition of “lease” for purposes of this program is “the use and control of a motor vehicle for transportation purposes pursuant to a rental contract or similar arrangement and having a term of 120 days or longer.


    This policy applies to all University-owned, leased or acquired light-duty motor vehicles licensed by Penn State, to include University Park and the Commonwealth Campuses.   Additionally, this policy applies to any vehicles which may not be licensed by Penn State but are used by Penn State personnel for Penn State business to include academic and research endeavors.

    Non-compliance with this process can result in monetary fines per unit to the University and/or Department as identified by the Department of Energy.  Departments which do not obtain prior approval will be financially responsible for all fines and penalties related to their non-compliance with this policy.  Fines can be as much as $8,000/unit purchased or acquired if found to be a civil penalty.  Fines can be as much as $10,000/unit purchased or acquired if found to be a criminal violation (willfully violated policy).  Fines are not set by the University, but instead by the US Department of Energy.


    For questions, additional detail, or to request changes to this policy, please contact the Office of the Associate Vice President, Auxiliary & Business Services.

    Effective Date: February 11, 2013

    Date Approved: February 11, 2013

    Date Published: February 11, 2013 (Editorial changes- October 25, 2013)

    Most Recent Changes:

    • October 25, 2013 - Editorial changes. Addition of policy steward information, in the event that there are questions or requests for changes to the policy.

    Revision History (and effective dates):

    • February 11, 2013 - Major revisions have been made to the entire policy to comply with Department of Education's reporting requirements for all University-owned, leased or acquired light-duty motor vehicles licensed by Penn State (including University Park and the Commonwealth Campuses), as Penn State's vehicles now qualify as a "state" fleet.
    • June 14, 2006 - Revision History added.
    • March 6, 1998 - Renumbered and relocated Policy BS18 from PC13.
    • March 1, 1994 - Revised "Policy" and "Scope and Authority" sections.
    • January 8, 1993 - Retyped without change from September 22, 1982.
    • September 22, 1987 - New Policy.