Fuel Management

High Fuel Prices Drive the City of Jacksonville to Downsize Vehicle Fleet

August 27, 2008

JACKSONVILLE, FL – Jacksonville officials, facing an $11.4 million jump in fuel costs, are downsizing the city’s vehicle fleet, according to The Florida Times-Union.

They’re phasing out SUVs, buying smaller pickup trucks, and trading eight-cylinder cars for those with half that number under the hood. The effort is shaving $3 million from the proposed fleet management budget in a year when statewide property tax reform and a sluggish economy are expected to cramp city finances.

Sam Houston, the fleet division chief, said the reductions also will curb the carbon emissions from city vehicles.

Parking enforcement workers will patrol downtown in electric vehicles within the next year. In the next five years, city employees will be driving hybrid models.

Houston said the city has one hybrid but will be bidding for more soon. Overall, the fleet is being reduced by about 100 vehicles.

About 3,900 remaining vehicles, including police cruisers, are increasingly being replaced by those that can run on more environmentally friendly E-85 fuel.

The city is in the final steps of formalizing a no-idling policy. City employees also have been asked to check tire pressure, travel light, and prepare driving routes to avoid getting lost.

The 4,000 vehicles in the city fleet include 1,900 police cars, which are a mix of marked cruisers and unmarked undercover and take-home vehicles.

Several weeks ago, Sheriff John Rutherford announced a plan to have officers pay a stipend to use their patrol cars off-duty. The expense of auto parts and fuel for the vehicles has more than doubled in the past year. The idea has met with union resistance. The officers often use the vehicles to answer complaints from home.


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