340.4.1 - Reimbursement for Use of Privately Owned Conveyance
OPR: Admin/Financial Management
1. Purpose. This chapter establishes the policies and procedures for the reimbursement of USGS employees and others rendering service to the USGS for the use of privately owned conveyance (POC) in the conduct of official business within or outside their assigned duty station as approved and authorized by law.
2. Policy. Applicable provisions of SM 340.1.2.
3. Basic Rules.
A. Mileage Payments. When employees and others rendering service to the Government use privately owned motor vehicles (POV) or airplanes (POA) in the conduct of official business within or outside their designated posts of duty or places of services and such use is authorized or approved as advantageous to the Government or as an authorized or approved exercise of the employee's preference, payment will be made on a mileage basis unless payment on an actual expense basis is specifically authorized by law.
B. Distance Measurements.
(1) Automobile and Motorcycle Travel. When transportation is authorized or approved by privately owned motorcycles or automobiles, distances between points traveled will be as shown in standard highway mileage guides or actual miles driven as determined from odometer readings. (Actual odometer readings need not be shown on the travel voucher.) Any substantial deviations from distances shown in the standard highway mileage guides must be explained. The mileage rate as authorized or approved may be paid from whatever point the employee or other person rendering service to the Government begins his/her journey.
(2) Air Travel. The air mileage between the origin and destination airports, as determined from airways charts of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce, will be reported on the reimbursement voucher and will be used in computing payment for the use of a privately owned airplane. If a detour was necessary because of adverse weather, mechanical difficulty, or other unusual conditions, the additional air mileage may be included in the mileage reported on the reimbursement voucher and, if included, it must be explained. When an official requirement for deviation from direct route travel is such that airway mileage charts are not adequate to determine mileage, the formula of flight time multiplied by cruising speed of the airplane may be the basis for mileage determinations.
C. Other Allowable Costs. Reimbursement for the cost of automobile parking fees, ferry fares, bridge, road and tunnel tolls, airplane parking, landing, and tiedown fees also will be allowed, unless restricted by the travel order or other administrative determinations.
4. When Use of a Privately Owned Conveyance is Advantageous to the Government.
A. Authorized Mileage Rates. When the use of a privately owned conveyance is authorized or approved as advantageous to the Government for the performance of official travel, reimbursement to the traveler will be at the mileage rates prescribed in (1) through (3), below:
(1) For use of privately owned motorcycle: 20 cents per mile.
(2) For use of a privately owned automobile: 22.5 cents per mile.
(3) For use of a privately owned airplane: 45 cents per mile.
B. Special Rule When Permanent Duty Travel is Involved. The rates contained in SM 340.6 will apply when privately owned automobiles are used in connection with employees, permanent changes of station, when the appointees or student trainees described therein travel to their first permanent duty stations, or when employees return from posts of duty outside the conterminous United States to places of actual residence for separation.
C. To and From Common Carrier Terminals and Office.
(1) Round Trip When Instead of Taxicab to Carrier Terminals. Payment on a mileage basis at the rate of 22.5 cents per mile and other allowable costs as set forth in paragraph 4c will be allowed for the round-trip mileage of a privately owned automobile used by an employee going from either the employee's home or place of business to a terminal or from a terminal to either the employee's home or place of business. However, the amount of reimbursement for the round trip will not in either instance exceed the taxicab fare, including tip, for a one-way trip between the applicable points.
(2) Round Trip When Instead of Taxicab Between Residence and Office on Day of Travel. Payment on a mileage basis at rate of 22.5 cents per mile and other allowable costs as set forth in paragraph 3c will be allowed for round-trip mileage of a privately owned automobile used by an employee going from the employee's residence on a day travel is performed. However, the amount of reimbursement for the round trip must not exceed the taxicab fare, including tip, for a one-way trip between the points involved.
(3) Privately Owned Conveyance Used to Transport Other Employees Between Residence, Office, and Common Carrier Terminals. Payment under (1) and (2), above, may be made without the taxicab fare limitation when the privately owned conveyance used by the employee for official travel is also used to pick up and transport one or more additional employees traveling between home, office, and common carrier terminals incident to a temporary duty assignment. Employee participation under this provision is voluntary. The names of the additional employees and their employing offices/agencies should be stated on the travel voucher.
(4) Parking When Automobile is Left at Terminal. The fee for parking an automobile at a common carrier terminal or other parking area while the traveler is away from his/her official station will be allowed only to the extent that the fee plus the allowable reimbursement to and from the terminal or other parking area does not exceed the estimated cost for use of a taxicab to and from the terminal.
5. Use of a Privately Owned Conveyance Instead of Common Carrier Transportation. Whenever a privately owned conveyance is used for official purposes as a matter of personal preference instead of common carrier transportation, payment for such travel will be made on the basis of the actual travel performed, computed under paragraph 3 at the mileage rate prescribed in paragraph 4A plus the per diem allowable for the actual travel. The total allowable will be limited to the total constructive cost of appropriate common carrier transportation including constructive per diem by that method of transportation. Constructive cost of transportation and per diem by common carrier will be determined under the following rules:
A. Mode of Travel to be Used for Comparison.
(1) Airplane. The mileage payment must not exceed the constructive cost of coach accommodations (or tourist or economy accommodations if a carrier uses this term instead of "coach accommodations") on airplanes when such service is provided by a carrier. If it is not provided, the comparison will be made with standard class accommodations regardless of whether space would have been available.
(2) Train. When none of the accommodations described above is provided by an air carrier, the mileage payment will be limited to the constructive cost of the first-class rail transportation or coach accommodations when the elapsed time of the rail journey is 4 hours or less. The constructive cost comparison may also be made with rail transportation, even though air transportation is provided, when an administrative determination is made that such comparison, including related per diem is more economical, and the travel order or other administrative directive so provides.
(3) Bus. When neither air nor rail accommodations are provided, the mileage payment will be limited to the constructive cost of bus transportation.
B. Transportation Costs to be Considered in Addition to Fares. In determining the constructive common carrier cost there will also be included the usual transportation costs to and from the common carrier terminals. In addition, the cost of excess baggage will be included when it would have been allowed had the traveler used the carrier upon which the constructive transportation costs are determined, provided the traveler certifies as to the weight of the baggage or presents other acceptable evidence of its weight.
C. Per Diem Allowance. The constructive per diem will be the amount which would have been allowable if the traveler had used the carrier upon which the constructive transportation costs are determined.
D. Use of Actual and Reasonable Schedules. In making the foregoing constructive cost comparisons of transportation, scheduled departure and arrivals of planes, trains, and buses at unreasonable hours will be disregarded. (For this purpose, "unreasonable hours" means those which would unduly inconvenience the traveler or adversely affect his/her safety, or which would result in unduly increasing the constructive per diem.)
6. Use of a Privately Owned Conveyance Instead of a Government-Furnished Automobile.
A. Planning for use of Government-Furnished Automobiles. When use of a privately owned conveyance is authorized or approved even though use of a Government-furnished automobile would be more advantageous to the Government, reimbursement to the employee will be limited to the cost which would be incurred for use of a Government-furnished automobile. The normal rate of reimbursement will be that provided in paragraph B below.
B. Reimbursement Based on Government Costs. It has been determined that the average mileage cost of use of a Government-furnished automobile for travel in the conterminous United States is 18.0 cents. Therefore, the mileage rate for authorized use of a privately owned conveyance when use of a Government-furnished automobile would be most advantageous to the Government will be 18.0 cents.
C. Partial Reimbursement When Government Automobile is Available. When an employee who is committed to using a Government-furnished automobile, or who because of the availability to Government-furnished automobiles, would not ordinarily be authorized to use a privately owned conveyance instead of a Government-furnished automobile nevertheless requests use of a privately owned conveyance, reimbursement may be authorized or approved. The rate of reimbursement will be 9.5 cents per mile, which is the approximate cost of operating a Government-furnished automobile, fixed costs excluded.
D. Reimbursement Claims. When claiming mileage at the 18.0 cent rate, the employee must state on the voucher that a commitment was not made to use a Government-furnished automobile and that reimbursement for use of a privately owned automobile was not limited under paragraph 6C.
7. More than One Person in Conveyance. Mileage will be payable to only one of two or more employees traveling together on the same trip and in the same conveyance.