California Department of Transportation
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Clark Paulsen, Division Chief

Private Vehicle Use

References: California Code of Regulations (CCR), Administration, Title 2, Sections 599.626, 599.626.1, 599.630 and 599.631, SAM 0730, 0731, 0750, 0751, 0752, 0753, 0754 and 0759, and California Vehicle Code Section 16056.


An employee may use his or her privately owned vehicle on official business if approved by the supervisor. If the use is not less costly than the normal mode of transportation, the supervisor may authorize the use, but the payment will be for the less costly alternative. No employee is required to use his or her privately owned vehicle unless it is a formal condition of employment.

Mileage is paid to an employee:

  • When authorized to use a private vehicle on official business.
  • When called back to work necessitating more than one trip to the work location on a normal workday. See Chapter 4 - Call Back Mileage for details.

An employee who operates a vehicle on official business must have a valid driver's license, insurance, and a good driving record. The employee shall use, and ensure all passengers use, all available safely equipment in the vehicle. Frequent drivers should attend and successfully complete an approved defensive driver-training course at least once every four (4) years. Driver training courses are available through the Department of General Services.

Gasoline, maintenance and automobile repair expenses are not state expenses as mileage reimbursement covers the operating cost and wear and tear of an employee's private vehicle. The mileage reimbursement rates include the cost of maintaining liability insurance at the minimum amount prescribed by law and collision insurance sufficient to cover the reasonable value of the vehicle, less a deductible. Damage caused by vandalism or theft of an employee's privately owned vehicle is not reimbursable. For further information, see Motor Vehicle Accidents.


Introducing a Mileage Calculator to assist State employees with determining the most cost-effective travel solution. With the closing of State garages, employees may require a daily rental vehicle for State business purposes. To determine whether using a personal vehicle or a car rental is the most cost-effective method, employees can use the Mileage Calculator.

Mileage Reimbursement Rates *

The mileage reimbursement rates for all excluded and represented employees who use their personal vehicle for official State business are:

Vehicle type Effective 01/01/2014 01/01/2013 – 12/31/2013 7/1/11 – 12/31/2012 1/1/11 - 6/30/11 1/1/10 - 12/31/10 1/1/09 - 12/31/09 7/1/08 - 12/31/08
Personal vehicle 56 cents per mile 56.5 cents per mile 55.5 cents per mile 51 cents per mile 50 cents per mile 55 cents per mile 58.5 cents per mile
Specialized vehicles 56 cents per mile 56.5 cents per mile 55.5 cents per mile 51 cents per mile 50 cents per mile 55 cents per mile 58.5 cents per mile
Private aircraft 50 cents per mile 50 cents per mile 50 cents per mile 50 cents per mile 50 cents per mile 50 cents per mile 50 cents per mile
Bicycle 4 cents per mile 4 cents per mile 4 cents per mile 4 cents per mile 4 cents per mile 4 cents per mile 4 cents per mile

Employees should show the mileage rate claimed in Box 15, "Rate Claimed", of the travel expense claim. Claims for reimbursement for private vehicle expenses must include the vehicle license number and the name of each state officer, employee or board, commission or authority member transported on the trip. No reimbursement of transportation expense shall be allowed any passenger in any vehicle operated by another state officer, employee or member.

* Certain mileage reimbursements such as: private aircraft, bicycle, call back, and scheduled overtime are classified as fringe benefits and reported as taxable income.

For information regarding taxability, see Tax Withholding and Reporting Requirements.

Supervisor's Approval of Private Vehicle Use

The supervisor may authorize an employee to use his or her privately owned vehicle on state business when it has been determined that:

  • A state vehicle is not available.
  • It is more advantageous economically to the state for the employee to use his or her own vehicle, even though a state vehicle is available.

In determining economic advantage of a state versus a private vehicle, the supervisor will consider the following:

  • Distance to be traveled and duration of trip, as these affect direct costs.
  • Location of the employee's residence, regular workplace, destination, and location of available state vehicles, as these factors affect employee time and distance traveled.

Authorization Form

An employee using his or her private vehicle on state business MUST have an "Authorization to Use Privately Owned Vehicles on State Business,” Form FA0205A, approved and on file with his or her supervisor. This form certifies that the employee has met safety, insurance and driver's license requirements. Renewal of this form is required annually or when a change affecting certification occurs.

If an employee chooses to change his or her current Form FA0205A (POV) for any reason during the year, he or she may do so by either:

  1. Completing a new POV form; or
  2. Making changes to the original retained by the supervisor and initialing the form. The supervisor may not change the mileage reimbursement rate if the employee properly certifies the rate.

Each supervisor or approving officer shall verify that there is a fully executed and current POV on file before he or she signs a travel expense claim for the employee. The employee's signature on the travel expense claim shall certify that the minimum insurance and safety factors were in effect and had been properly recorded before the privately owned vehicle was used. When a state employee uses a privately owned vehicle for official travel without having received the proper authorization, he or she does not qualify for mileage reimbursement.


Each employee who plans to drive his or her vehicle should be aware that the insurance maintained by the State of California is only applicable to that liability which is over and above the liability insurance maintained by the employee.

The employee must maintain liability insurance for the minimum amount prescribed by state law.

  • $15,000 for injury/death to one person.
  • $30,000 for injury/death to more than one person.
  • $5,000 for damage to property.

Uninsured vehicles are not authorized for use on state business.

Transportation To and/or From Headquarters

Reimbursement of private vehicle mileage for travel between residence or garage and headquarters is not allowed regardless of the employee's normal mode of transportation. Mileage that exceeds the employee's normal commute is reimbursable.

When a trip is commenced or terminated at the employee's residence, the distance traveled for reimbursement purposes shall be computed from either the employee's headquarters or residence, whichever shall result in the lesser distance.

Exceptions to the above are:

  • Where such expenses are incurred by call back for overtime work necessitating more than one trip to the work location on a normal work day or by reason of any call back on an employee's normal day off. 

    Note:  Per CCR Section 599.626, Represented employees may claim travel expenses related to call-back for overtime work which requires more than one trip to the assignment on a normal work day or any call-back on an employee’s normal day off. Pre-scheduled work on an employee’s normal day off is not considered to be a call-back. Refer to the applicable MOU for provisions that may supersede this regulation. 

    Note:  Per CCR Section 599.626.1, Excluded employees may claim travel expenses related to call-back to work which requires more than one trip to the assignment on a normal work day or any call-back or pre-scheduled work on an employee’s normal day off
  • When the headquarters of a permanent, full time employee is located 24 or more kilometers (15 or more road miles) one way from the nearest residential area with available housing, the appointing power may authorize payment of expenses incurred by an employee in the use of a privately owned vehicle.

  • When travel to or from a common carrier commences or terminates one hour before or one hour after the regularly scheduled work day or on a regularly scheduled day off, distance may be computed from the employee's residence in accordance with CCR Section 599.631(c) or the applicable provisions of a Memorandum of Understanding as appropriate

Transportation to or From a Common Carrier

When an employee drives his/her vehicle to a common carrier and parks in the parking lot to travel on State business, employee may claim round trip mileage. If the vehicle is not parked at the terminal during the period of travel, the employee may claim double the number of miles. Mileage is computed between the terminal and the employee's headquarters or residence; whichever is less.

Exception to "whichever is less":

  • If travel to or from a common carrier begins or terminates one (1) hour before or one (1) hour after the regularly scheduled workday or on a regularly scheduled day off, mileage may be computed from the employee's residence.

Cost Comparison (In Lieu)

When air or train is the normal mode of travel and an employee chooses to instead use his or her private vehicle, a cost comparison must be made and attached to the TEC to support the amount claimed. The only costs considered appropriate in the comparison are commercial carrier fares, transportation to and from the common carrier, and parking. These costs are compared to private vehicle mileage between the point of origin and destination and return. The employee may only claim reimbursement for the least expensive mode of transportation.

Ground transportation (e.g. rental cars, shuttle, taxi, etc, at the travel location) is not to be included in the cost comparison. Cost comparisons shall include only the least costly methods of transport for those expenses actually substituted, and shall include only the expenses of traveling from one location to another. Transportation expenses at the travel location will be reimbursed based on the actual business transportation expenses incurred while at the travel location.

The following example clarifies the reimbursable amount of in lieu of airfare expense:

Flying: Driving:
Airfare $418.00 spacer Private Vehicle Mileage  
Airport Parking $15.00 380 miles x
Mileage to/from airport $12.00 $0.56 per mile = $212.80
Total $445.00 Total $212.80

The employee chose to travel by private vehicle instead of flying, the normal mode of transportation. The reimbursement to the employee would be $212.80. The $212.80 should be listed under "cost of transportation" on the TEC and coded to object 010 on a separate line in the expense coding section.

For information regarding airfare rates, contact the CalTravelStore at (916) 376-3989.

Specialized Vehicles

An employee with a physical disability who must operate a specially equipped or modified vehicle for official business may claim and be reimbursed at the Federal Standard Mileage Rate.


Privately owned motorcycles and motor-driven bicycles are not authorized modes of transportation for official business. There is no payment for mileage or transportation expenses for these modes.

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