SAN LUIS OBISPO, CA – As local motorists pay nearly $4.70 a gallon for gas, many government officials and employees working in San Luis Obispo County are being given a financial break.

Some receive monthly auto allowances or stipends in addition to their regular salaries — ranging from $75 for members of the Arroyo Grande City Council to $1,000 for Warren Baker, president of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Others are issued vehicles — mid-size SUVs, pickups, and midsize sedans — to use during the business day or drive home after hours, according to

Agencies contacted by The Tribune say it’s a necessity for those whose work requires emergency response, undercover work or frequent travel. As well, they say providing a vehicle can save an employee time and the government money because an allowance is often cheaper than mileage reimbursement. Offering such a perk can also be used as a valuable management recruitment tool.

Some suggest that local agencies require more people use pool vehicles or simply reimburse employees or officials for the trips they take.

The county office, which has an annual fuel budget of about $80,000, has a contract with a local distributor and a gas pump on site. Employees who use Office of Education vehicles may fill up at the gas pump, or if they’re out of the area, use a gas card issued by the agency. Vehicles that fill up at the on-site pump are monitored to gauge how much fuel is being used, and employees, are required to file a monthly mileage report.