EVANS, GA - Columbia County recently authorized the purchase of 29 new vehicles, 26 of which are full-size cars or trucks, according to the Columbia County News Times.

Fleet Manager Clayton Galloway said the past three years he has encouraged county department heads to consider midsize vehicles to decrease fuel consumption. However, need determines vehicle size and about 80 percent of the county's almost 800-vehicle fleet are big vehicles for big jobs, Galloway said.

During a recent Community and Emergency Services Committee meeting, Commissioner Charles Allen complained that officials were not giving enough consideration to buying more fuel-efficient vehicles.

In particular, he noted that Animal Care and Control is getting two new full-size trucks when midsize trucks probably would suffice. However, documents provided to commissioners last week showed using smaller trucks for animal services would have been more costly because they require the purchase of smaller animal cages and smaller Tommy Gate lifts, which would have cost $2,800 per vehicle, reported the Times.

Galloway told the Times that at least a V-6 engine is needed in those trucks, "and to get that in the Ford mid-size means buying an XLT package," he explained. "That costs more than a full-size, half-ton pickup." The Ford XLT Ranger costs $16,913, according to county documents. The Ford F-150 costs $16,382.

Small vehicles are purchased for the county fleet as needed, reported the Times.