Second only to depreciation, fuel is the second-largest public sector fleet expense.
With gasoline prices remaining above $3 a gallon, organizations like the City of Edmond, Edmond Public Schools and the University of Central Oklahoma are working hard to keep costs down.
On Friday, the national average price for a gallon of regular was $3.567, according to AAA’s Daily Fuel Gauge Report. A gallon of diesel was $4.019.
In Oklahoma, the current state average for a gallon of regular was $3.388. A month ago, a gallon of regular was $2.991. A year ago it was $3.270. A gallon of diesel averaged $3.813. A month ago it was $3.681. A year ago it was $3.698.
Local public prices for a “gallon” of compressed natural gas (CNG) have remained below $2.
In recent weeks, prices have been surging. From Jan. 16 through Feb. 5, the Oklahoma average for regular jumped 38 cents. The trend has been largely the result of higher crude oil prices and the “rubber-banding” of mid-continent retail gasoline prices, which fell dramatically to end the year and are now swinging back to the upside, according to AAA Oklahoma.
Bob Masterson, fleet superintendent for the City of Edmond, said the city maintains a fleet of 400-500 vehicles and pieces of equipment. Vehicles include cars for various departments, vans, trucks, the city’s transit fleet and heavy equipment. Each department pays its fair share to fund the division’s entire budget.
Three types of fuels are available to the fleet: #85 ethanol (85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline), diesel fuel and unleaded gasoline. The Vehicle Maintenance Division also has budgeted for the conversion of six Citylink transit buses to CNG, a process that is well under way.
Masterson said the city budgeted $1.1 million for fuel costs in fiscal year 2012-13. From FY 2011 to FY 2012, the cost for unleaded increased 15.2 percent and the cost for diesel increased 16.6 percent. The city buys its fuel directly from a vendor, Masterson said.
When calculating costs for a given year, the city considers historical data, government information and geo-political issues, Masterson said.
City efforts to reduce downtime and improve efficiency include utilizing an in-house parts distributor, NAPA Auto Parts, which has significantly reduced vehicle downtime while waiting parts for repair. The division installs and maintains GPS hardware in the city’s fleet, which improves the efficiency of dispatching vehicles, especially for emergency calls.
Additionally, Masterson attends alternative fuel expos. The city soon will install a liquefied petroleum gas pump at its Cross Timbers Municipal Complex. When possible, employees car pool. And manufacturer maintenance guidelines are strictly followed.
“We don’t want to spend money we don’t have to,” Masterson said.
Edmond Public Schools Associate Superintendent for General Administration Bret Towne said during the 2011-12 fiscal year the district used 217,195 gallons of diesel and 52,785 gallons of unleaded. The budget was $791,000 and the district spent $827,920. It’s current price per gallon of diesel is $3.22.
Towne said the district bids the profit margin on its fuel each year and if market prices fall significantly, lock in the cost per gallon for the year. This year, it has only had a 25 cent range in costs and has not locked in the cost of fuel, Towne said.
“If fuel costs were to exceed the budget, we would utilize district contingency to make up the difference,” he said.
The University of Central Oklahoma budgets for gasoline by taking the previous years’ expense and increasing it by 2-3 percent for inflation, UCO spokeswoman Adrienne Nobles said.
UCO has 99 licensed road vehicles in its fleet. During fiscal year 2012 fuel costs were $58,127.50 on gasoline, $3,670.70 on diesel, Nobles said. The fiscal year 2013 fuel budget is $63,652.
“Our motor pool is focusing on reduction of the fleet, where it makes sense, and using electric golf carts for cross-campus transportation,” Nobles said.
Oklahoma’s economy reached a number of milestones as it showed expansion in January, State Treasurer Ken Miller said Tuesday. Miller said the record collections are a reflection of the strength of Oklahoma’s recovery and are in no way related to increased tax rates, which have been reduced in recent years.
State gross production taxes on oil and natural gas generated $58.05 million in January, a decrease of $10.72 million or 15.6 percent from last January, according to the state treasurer’s office. Compared to December reports, gross production collections were down by $2.12 million or 3.5 percent.
Between February 2012 and January 2013 oil and gas gross production tax collections brought in $717.32 million, down by $314.33 million or 30.5 percent from the previous period.
Reasons for the low collections include low natural gas prices, the state repaying oil and gas producers for deferred tax credits and the state not collecting tax on most horizontal drilling, according to the Oklahoma Policy Institute.
Second only to depreciation, fuel is the second-largest public sector fleet expense.
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Central community learns about water conservation
Edmond residents know about rain that falls from their roofs after a storm. Some may not know what kind of important role it plays in the nation’s water supply.
Tim Tillman, the University of Central Oklahoma’s sustainability coordinator, said UCO has a tradition of innovation in sustainable practices. Tillman said Earth Day, first brought to the campus more than 20 years ago, began that tradition.
During Tuesday’s Earth Day Fair, Jason Summers, a Coca-Cola account manager for on-premise sales, was giving away rain barrels and educating members of the Central Oklahoma community about the benefits of rain barrels.
Energy secretary touts CNG fleet conversion
Oklahoma Secretary of Energy and Environment Michael Teague said the state is leading the way in converting its fleet of vehicles to run on compressed natural gas.
And, he adds, the state is working to get federal officials engaged in moving its fleet of vehicles in Oklahoma to use CNG.
Teague made those statements Tuesday during a visit to Champion CNG, 13915 N. Harvey Ave. in Edmond. The visit also coincided with Earth Day.
3 Senate candidates say no to Sharia law
Whether to deport non-citizen Muslim men in the U.S. who believe violence is justified by Sharia law was a question asked to three of the seven Republicans running for the U.S. Senate.
The Oklahoma Conservative Political Action Committee hosted a debate recently in Oklahoma City. The office is being vacated by retiring U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn.
Congressman James Lankford said Great Britain has experimented with allowing certain pockets of their nation to function under Sharia law.
Local forecast includes multiple severe weather days
Severe thunderstorms will be possible in the area Wednesday and during the weekend.
The National Weather Service says severe storms are expected to develop near a dryline across western Oklahoma down into Texas late Wednesday afternoon. Primary concerns will be very large hail and damaging wind gusts.
During the evening and overnight hours, the storms are expected to form a squall line and move east into central portions of the state. As this occurs, the main threat will become damaging straight-line winds.
Authorities make 8th arrest in Logan Co. homicide
Authorities have arrested an eighth suspect in a homicide which involved the discovery of a badly burned body along a Logan County road.
On Jan. 31, firefighters were dispatched to a grass fire in a rural area located south of State Highway 33 between Langston and Guthrie, Logan County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Richard Stephens stated in a previous report. While extinguishing the fire, firefighters discovered a badly burned male body, Stephens said.
Citizens Caring for Children to participate in 1-mile walk
Citizens Caring for Children will join thousands of Oklahomans on Saturday for the fourth annual Walk a Mile in My Shoes foster care awareness walk. The 1-mile walk will take place at the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark, 2 S. Mickey Mantle Drive, Oklahoma City, from 9-11 a.m.
Police report home burglary outbreak in Edmond
Police said they are seeking the public’s help in identifying a suspect linked to a string of residential burglaries with common occurrences.
4-22 Good Reads
NOTE: Email email@example.com to have your name entered into a drawing for “The Noisy Paint Box.” Deadline is 10 a.m. April 28. Winner will be notified by return email. Winner is responsible for picking up the book at The Edmond Sun at 123 S. Broadway. All entrants must be 18 or older to win.
UCO Cheer, Pom finish big at Nationals
The University of Central Oklahoma’s cheer and pom squads traveled to Daytona Beach, Fla., April 10-12 for the National Cheerleaders Association and National Dance Alliance College Nationals, bringing home second place trophies in All-Girl Cheer, Dance Hip Hop and Dance Team Division II, and fourth place in Coed Intermediate Cheer.
UCO presents Missouri poet laureate for reading
The University of Central Oklahoma’s College of Liberal Arts will host a poetry reading from William Trowbridge, poet laureate for Missouri, 7:30 p.m. April 29 in Pegasus Theater in the Liberal Arts building on Central’s campus.
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