REDDING, CA – Many public agencies in Redding, Calif., are about to bust their fuel budgets, according to www.redding.com. Redding’s police department had used up 93 percent of its fuel budget for fiscal 2008 through March, figures from the city’s finance office show. The 40-odd V-8-powered Crown Victoria patrol cruisers that account for most of RPD’s fuel consumption average about 10 miles per gallon, Police Chief Leonard Moty said.
Redding’s solid waste utility had consumed $822,974 worth of diesel fuel as of Monday, or 84 percent of its budget. Most of the city’s 43 trash, recycling, and yard waste collection trucks average between two and three miles per gallon. The constant starts and stops of trash collection burn up the bulk of that fuel. But the trucks also use about a third of their diesel lifting and emptying trash carts.
Redding doesn’t buy its fuel in bulk. Municipal workers fill up city vehicles at eight fueling stations around town honoring lock cards. They pay $3.72 per gallon for unleaded and $3.42 per gallon for diesel. The city, like all local agencies, is exempt from the 18-cent federal gas tax, but does pay the state sales and gas taxes in most cases.
Shasta County keeps about 400 cars and trucks for its sheriff’s deputies, building inspectors, social workers, and others whose jobs take them out into the field. The county budgeted about $800,000 to fuel that fleet this fiscal year and will spend every bit, said Gary Hines, fleet management supervisor, according to www.redding.com.
The county has blunted some of the fuel cost bite by buying hybrid cars over approximately the last five years. The fleet includes 23 hybrids now, and the county wants to increase that number to about 100 over time.
The sheriff’s department is testing non-hybrid, six-cylinder Dodge Chargers to see whether those cars could become more fuel-efficient patrol cruisers than the classic Crown Victorias. The county also has saved some money buying used vehicles.
The Shasta Union High School District will burn through 36,000 gallons of fuel this year. Its fleet of two dozen buses — five of which operate on compressed natural gas — cover most of the roads in northeastern Shasta County.
Anticipating higher costs this year, the Shasta Union High School Districtboard last year increased the district’s fuel budget by $13,000. Officials buy diesel by the tanker load, about 7,500 gallons at a time. That arrangement allows the district to get the fuel cheaper than what drivers pay at the pump.