Dozens of cities across America are facing the same challenge: the effects of rising fuel costs. In Albany, NY the cost of keeping the city government’s fleet of vehicles on the road during the next fiscal year will increase by nearly $2 million because of rising fuel costs, officials recently said. That figure is up from the $1.6 million the city spent this last calendar year on fuel for its vehicles.
Albany Mayor Willie Adams used the fuel discussion to reiterate his position that every city vehicle needs to have some sort of Global Positioning System, or GPS tracking system, to monitor their whereabouts to ensure they aren’t traveling when they aren’t supposed to be.
“Nearly every corporation in the country has some kind of GPS or AVL (automatic vehicle location) device,” Adams said. “We’re a corporation and we need to keep track of our vehicles. That’s something I’d like to see on all of our vehicles.”
In the City of Washington, operating the city’s vehicle fleets accounted for about 42% percent of the City’s total energy bill – and this figure was from 2009 when a gallon of gas was about $1 less. The city is doing its part by implementing a “Green Fleets Policy”, where city owned and operated cars and trucks can use alternative fuels and take advantage of emissions reduction technologies. These programs cut costs by reducing dependency on high-priced gasoline and diesel fuels through the introduction of efficient and environmentally friendly alternative fuel sources.
In Chesterfield County, VA Police are taking a measured approach in addressing fuel costs. Chesterfield County is encouraging its officers and other vehicle drivers to voluntarily reduce fuel consumption and vehicle emissions by planning routes, turning off their vehicles when possible, avoiding unnecessary travel, as well as practicing moderate starts and stops. Chet Smith, administrator, Police Property and Evidence Unit, said the department maintains a fleet of about 630 assorted vehicles that includes police package cruisers, standard mid-size passenger vehicles, vans, motorcycles and a boat.
In the Henry County, IA Sheriff’s Office in Mt. Pleasant, deputies are reminded to make sure that every gallon of fuel they use is used wisely. Sheriff Allen F. Wittmer receives a report every month showing their gallon usage from their GPS tracking system. They have also been told to park more, such as running stationary radar instead of moving radar, as well as sit and watch for stop sign and equipment violations.