Government Fleet Top News

Casper Seeks to Reduce City Fleet Consumption by 5%

September 21, 2005

CASPER, WY — Even before gas prices shot up, city of Casper officials had made it a goal to reduce fuel consumption by 5 percent this year, according to the Casper Star-Tribune.Watching its fuel budget rise from $450,000 last year to $515,000 this year, the city sought to cut back expenses with some basic conservation measures: checking frequently for appropriate tire pressure, driving slower, avoiding the interstate, and not allowing vehicles to idle as much.Now those measures seem especially wise, even as costs again threaten to shoot the budget, said Larry Gomez, fleet and street division manager.The city operates more than 600 vehicles, from garbage trucks and police cars to golf carts and the ice-rink Zamboni. They buy gas in bulk at a municipal rate, which is now $2.62 for unleaded, up from $2.25 in August.The city’s fiscal year runs from July to June, and Gomez said what once seemed like a good budget now looks low.Whether the city will have to pass a budget amendment and dip into its reserves depends on how the price of gas changes over the next 10 months, and on the weather: a dry winter would mean much less gas needed for snowplows, City Manager Tom Forslund said.The city of Cheyenne is talking about even more serious conservation measures, the Wyoming Tribune-Eagle reported Sunday.Public Works Director Jackie Smith aims to increase the fleet's fuel efficiency by 10 percent in three years, reduce fuel consumption by 10 percent in three years, and look into alternative fuels and hybrid vehicles.In Casper, the rising costs are changing how everyone, even city workers, thinks of fuel consumption, said Gomez, the fleet manager.He said the city council could look into changing its bidding process to try to buy more fuel-efficient vehicles.

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