LAWRENCEVILLE, GA – Gwinnett County is facing a 30-percent increase in fuel costs this year, no surprise given the cost of gasoline and diesel, but the County has taken a number of proactive steps to combat this fuel price increase within the last couple of years, from an anti-idling policy to joining a regional fuel-buying co-op.

Gwinnett County is part of the Atlanta Metropolitan area. It covers 437 square miles, has 15 cities inside its boundaries, and is home to 805,000 citizens (per the 2010 Census), which makes it the second largest county in Georgia based on population. The County’s fleet consists of 2,825 vehicle and equipment assets.

The first major program the County implemented was an anti-idling policy, back in 2009. According to Michael Lindsey, director of the fleet management department for the County, they saw an immediate reduction in fuel use.

“This is a difficult to measure from year to year, however when it was initially put in place we saw a 14-percent reduction in fuel consumption from the previous year and we have been maintaining that same level of consumption since,” Lindsey said.

One of the other major programs the County implemented was to work with 16 other municipalities and regional government agencies to create the North Georgia Fuel Co-op to buy fuel in volume. When asked about how successful this program has been, Lindsey said the first year saw the most significant savings, similar to what happened with the anti-idling program.

“Considering that our consumption has stayed relatively constant, our greatest reduction was in the first year of the agreement, at $110,000, and today it would be more of cost avoidance than a reduction of approximately $190,000 per year,” Lindsey said.

The County also has a fuel-management system in place, AssetWorks’ FuelFocus, which tracks all fuel used by County-owned vehicles.

Lastly, the County right-sized its fleet, resulting in the elimination of 280 vehicles. The only vehicles County employees are currently allowed to take home are those needed to ensure public safety, though there is currently a proposed policy that would formally limit take-home vehicle use to public safety use only and within the County’s boundaries.

By Greg Basich