Green Fleet

Polk County Incentivizes Employees to Reduce Fuel Costs

Polk County, Fla. is implementing a broad strategy to ensure employees who adhere to fuel-efficient guidelines share in the rewards.

January 2009, Government Fleet - Feature

by Mike Scott - Also by this author

Providing government employees incentives to save on fuel costs is a program that, in its early stages, appears to be working for Polk County, Fla.

The county's fleet department developed an "Employee Incentive Program for Fuel Efficiency" and is currently implementing the program, expected to save the County an estimated $250,000 annually in fuel costs. That savings pool would then be split 50/50 with employees who drive county-owned vehicles on a daily basis. The employee share of savings could amount to $100-$400 per eligible employee as an annual bonus.

Idling Program Produces Results

The program is led by Bob Stanton, director for fleet management for the Polk County Board of County Commissioners. In 2006, Stanton and his peers developed an idling awareness program to educate employees on the gas mileage costs of idling a vehicle.

Fleet staff reviews equipment and perform necessary maintenance.

"That's really how all of this began," Stanton said. "We have great employees who want to do the right thing, but needed to be educated as to how much idling is costing our County each year."

The idling awareness program, now enhanced with the incentive program, included placing a "55" sticker on the back of county vehicles that can be driven at or above 55 mph. The sticker represents a county employee's commitment to avoid exceeding 55 mph while driving on all roadway within the County, except for the Interstate, as a way to save fuel costs. That includes county roads that have a speed limit of greater than 55 mph, Stanton said.

Stanton's vision gained momentum in summer and early fall 2008 as fuel prices escalated to record levels. County employees had already been educated about the harmful impact of idling; however, education alone wouldn't be enough to truly drive the message home, fleet officials found.

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