Using a Personal Vehicle for Travel or University-Related Business

Car odometer showing mileage

University employees may use their personal vehicles for travel or University related business, but are subject to certain limitations and guidelines.

The means of transportation you use should be determined by the most economical mode and most commonly traveled route consistent with the authorized purpose of the trip. If it’s more economical to drive, reimbursement for mileage may be claimed according to the established rate published by the Internal Revenue Service at the time of vehicle use.

Mileage Rates are listed here.

What You Can be Reimbursed For

Mileage shall ordinarily be computed between the traveler's headquarters and the common carrier or destination. Expenses for travel between the traveler's residence and headquarters (commuting expense) shall not be allowed. Mileage expenses may be allowed between the traveler's residence and the common carrier or destination if University business travel originates or terminates during a regularly scheduled day off.

When a traveler is authorized to drive a private vehicle to or from a common carrier terminal, mileage may be reimbursed as follows:

  • One round trip, including parking for the duration of the trip; or
  • Two round trips, including short-term parking expenses, when an employee is driven to a common carrier.

Also, if an employee who is not on travel status has a temporary assignment away from campus, reimbursement shall be made for mileage expenses incurred between the campus and the assignment location, or home and the assignment location, whichever is less.

Surface Transportation Used in Lieu of Air Travel

If advance approval has been obtained, a traveler may use surface transportation for personal reasons even though air travel is the appropriate mode of transportation. The cost of meals and lodging, parking, mileage, tolls, taxis, and ferries incurred while in transit by surface transportation may be reimbursed.

However, such costs shall not exceed the cost of airfare, based on the lower of the regular coach fare available for the location of travel from a standard commercial air carrier or the campus travel program fare, plus transportation costs to and from the terminals.

Additional Considerations

  • When Flying is Cheaper: If a traveler chooses to travel by personal car when air travel is more economical, they should only be reimbursed for mileage up to a reasonable estimate of lowest coach fare that could have been purchased plus transportation costs to and from the terminals.
  • Fuel and Rental Cars: Mileage may not be claimed for rental cars, but fuel can be reimbursed when purchased for a rental car. Mileage must be claimed in a personal car, traveler does not have the option to have fuel reimbursed.
  • Insurance: Traveler must carry liability insurance on the personal vehicle in order for mileage to be claimed.
  • Ownership: It is not required that the car used is owned by the traveler.
  • Driving to Mexico: All drivers traveling into Mexico must obtain minimum liability and property damage insurance before crossing the border.