DAYTONA, FL – Volusia County recently chose three companies to supply $8.7 million in fuel for its cars, trucks, buses, motorcycles, and off-road equipment, such as bulldozers and graders, according to The West Volusia Beacon.

County government uses about 2.2 million gallons of motor fuel per year, and the Votran mass-transit system uses approximately 1 million gallons. Besides gasoline, the county buys diesel and biodiesel, according to the Beacon.

County staffers recommended the three lowest bidders out of nine companies that responded: Mansfield Oil Co. of Gainesville, Ga., Glover Oil Co. of Melbourne, and Watkins Oil Co. of Titusville.

The purchasing agreement does not lock in prices, but allows the county and its partners to buy fuel at generally lower prices than other volume users may pay.

"We have two indexes we can buy off of," explained George Baker, the county's director of Central Services and Fleet Management. "One is OPIS Low, and the other is OPIS Average."

Baker said the county, which purchases 8,000 gallons at a time, typically buys fuel at 30 cents per gallon below retail.

To achieve greater savings, the county formed a purchasing consortium that includes the School Board and the cities of Daytona Beach, South Daytona, New Smyrna Beach, and Port Orange. Flagler County also joined.

"All of us working together - we're going to save about $200,000 a year," said Baker.

While the county and the local governments do not have to pay federal and local taxes on each gallon of fuel, they must pay state taxes, which add up to 24 cents per gallon. The taxes are not levied on fuel used in vehicles that do not travel on public roadways, according to the Beacon.

Baker said Volusia is buying off-road diesel for use in vehicles at county facilities such as the Tomoka Landfill. By not having to pay taxes for on-road uses, the county saves an additional $80,000, according to the Beacon.

The diesel designated for off-road uses is colored with red dye to deter anyone from using off-road fuel on the road. The diversion of off-road fuel for on-road uses is a violation of county policy and state law, reported the Beacon.