MANASSAS, VA – Prince William County and the City of Manassas are both feeling the effects of the upsurge in gas prices and are doing more than just budgeting more money to combat the issue, according to the Potomac News & Manassas Journal Messenger.

Everything from carpooling, teleconferencing, reducing idling to purchasing more fuel-efficient vehicles are being implemented in both jurisdictions. For example, Manassashas sent out a memo to its employees stating that vehicles should not be allowed to idle for more than five minutes.

The city has a fleet of 340 vehicles that include police cars, construction trucks for the public works department, and school buses. A third of those vehicles are operated by the police department.  

Both the county and the city’s initial projections for fuel costs in fiscal 2009 were too low, forcing the public works departments to seek additional funding from the Manassas City Council and the Board of County Supervisors, respectively. The council’s proposed fiscal 2009 vehicle maintenance budget is $74,500 more than the city manager’s initial budget of $655,500.

Supervisors approved a budget amendment that will appropriate an additional $350,000 to pay for budget shortfalls in fiscal 2008.

Paying less for fuel at the pump through the Watchcard program is another way Prince William is saving on fuel costs. The Watchcard program allows municipalities to pay wholesale prices on gasoline when traveling on business. Watchcard has multiple sites in Virginia, including two in Prince William.