Mississippi lawmakers and a report by the state auditor will be studying whether to limit the number of state-owned vehicles that state agencies can have, according to Mississippi's Clarion-Ledger.

Currently, the agencies are not limited to the number they can have on inventory.

Mississippi averages one state-owned vehicle for every three or four of its employees, the auditor reports, suggesting lawmakers set guidelines to limit agencies in vehicle growth each year.

The study reviewed the new Bureau of Fleet Management, set up in 2006 to implement a statewide system to manage all state-owned vehicles. Currently, the 9,366 state-owned vehicles have a combined value of almost $222 million.

In addition to law enforcement needs, some vehicles are needed for officials on call 24 hours a day, including maintenance personnel.

In fact, the legislative watchdog Performance Evaluation and Expenditure Review Committee in 2000 found that it's actually more cost-effective to provide state-owned vehicles than to provide mileage reimbursement for employees who are required to travel extensively.

The challenge is to sort out legitimate, economical use. State lawmakers will hold hearings later this month to determine spending needs—and cost-cutting measures—for the 2009 Legislature, which convenes in January.