(Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post)

In response to rising gas prices, the Internal Revenue Service raised the national deductibility rate last summer from 51 cents per mile to 55.5 cents per mile. The General Services Administration — which owns and operates tens of thousands of federal vehicles and buildings — declined to raise the government rates to match the IRS, arguing that gas prices would eventually fall back.

But the IRS is keeping the higher rate in place as the new year begins, and GSA should immediately raises its rates, too, said Colleen M. Kelley, president of the National Treasury Employees Union.

“I would remind you that federal employees are suffering under a pay freeze, making substandard reimbursement for the expenses they incur performing government work all the more burdensome,” Kelley wrote to GSA Administrator Martha N. Johnson.

Tens of thousands of NTEU members across the country use their personal vehicles to conduct official government business, Kelley said Monday.

 “They know when they take the job that they have to have a car and they know they’ll eventually receive reimbursements,” she said in a brief interview. In the past, GSA rates have occasionally differed from the IRS rates but are often corrected later, she said.

A GSA spokesman couldn’t immediately comment on the letter and wouldn’t say late Monday whether the agency plans to raise its mileage deductibility rates.

Follow Ed O’Keefe on Twitter: @edatpost

Further reading:

Will commuter benefits for federal workers expire?

Federal workers enjoy a free lunch

For more, visit PostPolitics and The Fed Page.