Had enough of pricey petroleum? - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Had enough of pricey petroleum?

Albany-- For weeks we've been hearing about the rising cost of gas, and if you think you've had enough of pricey petroleum you're not alone.

Most of us have only one or two vehicles to worry about filling up, but it's costing the City of Albany big bucks these days to keep their fleet running.

If you think filling up your 20 gallon tank is costing big bucks, try filling up one of these big guys. "Most of them hold about 55 to 100 gallons per vehicle," says City of Albany fleet manager Ken Johnson.

The City of Albany has about 600 vehicles and 500 pieces of equipment that must all be gassed up. "We average 500,000 [gallons] a year, 600,000 in just unleaded."

That doesn't include the price of diesel fuel that about half the fleet uses. Tractors only get a measly 3 miles per gallon.

Johnson says many of the police cruisers use at least a full tank every day, but public safety isn't the biggest fuel-user.

Johnson says solid waste uses the most fuel because they're always on the go, and all their trucks use diesel fuel. The city buys their gas wholesale, so they pay about 40 cents less than we do at the pump. Still at $1.61 last week, it cost them 30 cents more than it did last year.

Unlike the average driver, street sweepers and firefighters can't just cut back on the amount of trips they take each day, so Johnson says they work on being more fuel-efficient. "Simple little things check your air pressure in your tires that can make a big difference, keep your oil changed, tuned up. Just little things that can make a couple miles per gallon of difference," he says.

A difference that could save the city and its tax payers big money.

Fleet services officials say the city takes bids for fuel every two or three years and always takes the lowest one. They only use regular unleaded and diesel fuels-- higher grades are too costly.

  • Check area gas prices, and report prices that you've seen at our Pump Patrol.

posted by dave.miller@walb.com