Keeping the nation's largest municipal fleet fueled cost the city a projected $81.8 million for the 2022 fiscal year. Nick Benson, director of communications for the New York City Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS), said that's compared to $50 million the previous fiscal year. That's a 61% increase in fuel costs.
The higher costs are not due to a major uptick in fuel use. The city used about 26 million gallons of fuel during FY2022, compared to 25.8 million gallons the previous year. Benson said the slight increase is due to government services resuming to a pre-pandemic level after seeing a slight drop in FY2021 due to COVID-19.
Fleet departments across the country have been dealing with higher fuel costs since Russia's invasion of Ukraine in late February.
Here's which departments used the most fuel:
- Department of Sanitation: 9.5 million gallons
- Police: 7 million gallons
- Fire: 4 million gallons
- Department of Transportation: 2 million
When asked whether the city planned to increase its fuel budget due to increased prices for the 2023 fiscal year, Benson told Government Fleet that the city's budget is always based on projected expenses, and is adjusted as projections change.
The New York Post reported that the city spend $108 million on fuel, using data sent by Comptroller Brad Lander's office. Lander sent the same data to Government Fleet. Benson told us that it appears Lander's office is pulling data from budget codes. He explained that there are co-located facilities across the city, including wastewater treatment plants that take in fuel for both the facility and for the fleet, for example, as well as fire stations that take in fuel for both the building at for the vehicles. The budget codes do not distinguish between the two. The codes also don't distinguish between fleet vehicles and other modes of transportation like planes and boats that are operated by the city. The data from DCAS solely focuses on the vehicle fleet.
Lander responded to the higher fuel costs saying, "inflation and global shortages are fueling the rising cost of gas, and everyone is feeling the squeeze, including city agencies. While this affects our city's bottom line in the short term, we are working towards transitioning the city’s fleet to electric vehicles and retrofitting buildings to rely less on natural gas and oil. As New York City becomes less dependent on fuel, we will become more green and save green."
The city is also working to reduce its fleet size. Earlier this year, New York City Mayor Eric Adams announced a reduction of the city's fleet size by at least 855 vehicles, in an effort to save taxpayer dollars and reduce carbon emissions.