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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State gas price plummets 18 cents in 25 days
Abundant domestic refinery production is behind a steep 18-cent plunge in Oklahoma gasoline prices at the pump during the last 25 days, AAA reports.
A Q&A on ‘Obamacare’ Court Rulings
On Tuesday, two federal appeals courts issued conflicting rulings on the legality of tax subsidies being provided to people who bought “Obamacare” health insurance policies in Oklahoma and 35 other states.
Here’s a look at the rulings’ potential impact in Oklahoma.
Q: I’m confused. What did the courts rule today?
A: A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals circuit in Washington, D.C., decided that the government can’t provide tax subsidies for Affordable Care Act plans purchased in 36 states where the federal government is operating the health insurance exchange. Oklahoma is one of the 36 states. A few hours later, the U.S. Court of Appeals circuit in Richmond, Va., issued a conflicting ruling that upheld the legality of the health-care law’s tax subsidies.
June healthy month for Oklahoma jobs
Nearly 10,000 new jobs in Oklahoma were created in June, according to the U.S. Labor Department.
Gov. Mary Fallin said Tuesday the state experienced one of the largest increases in employment in the nation in June. More than 9,600 additional people joined the state’s workforce in June.
The unemployment rate in June dropped to 4.5 percent, its lowest ratio in six years. June’s rate was down a percentage point from 4.6 percent in May and April, according to the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission.
Former OSU line coach having impact on Texas staff
It was quite possibly the biggest coaching coup of the offseason and Oklahoma State was at the wrong end of it — former Cowboy offensive line coach Joe Wickline joining the staff for Charlie Strong’s Texas Longhorns.
“It’s always good when you go hire staff and you look at just getting the right people within your program. And, a lot of times, guys know a lot of Xs and Os, but it’s all just about developing a player,” said Strong, Tuesday during the Big 12 Conference Football Media Days. “Joe and I, we’ve coached together at two different places. But just with him being within his conference and knowing the conference, he’s been a great asset.”
Whataburger celebrates children’s superhero spirit with ‘Super-Duper’ event
It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a Super Duper Celebration! In the heart of every child lives a superhero and on Thursday Whataburger restaurants will celebrate the superhero spirit in all of us with an evening of family fun from 5-7 p.m. at its location at 421 S. Broadway.
Customers can spend quality time with their little heroes and treat them to a superhero-themed celebration of food, activities and giveaways. Children 12 and under dressed in a superhero costume will receive a free kid’s meal. There will be a Whataburger photo booth and Whataburger’s mascot, Whataguy, will also be present to join the fun.
Edmond man confesses to crimes in Kenya
A federal grand jury alleges a 19-year-old Edmond man staying at a children’s’ home in Kenya engaged in illicit sexual conduct with residents ages 4-9.
NWS includes Edmond in heat advisory
The National Weather Service has issued a heat advisory for areas including Edmond.
It will be in effect from noon Tuesday to 7 p.m. Wednesday, a period during which afternoon heat index values will be near 105 degrees. Individuals exposed to the extreme heat for a prolonged period may develop heat-related illnesses, according to the NWS.
Police respond to toddler tragedy at park
A 2-year-old child has died after a tragic incident during the weekend at a popular Edmond park, a police spokeswoman said.
Germans from Russia group plans annual meeting in Edmond
The Central Oklahoma Chapter of American Historical Society of Germans from Russia will have its annual All State meeting on Aug. 9 at the Memorial Road Mennonite Brethren Church, 4201 E. Memorial Road, in Edmond.
Students learn about animal behavior
Animals can be fun, friendly and sometimes dangerous. That is what the students at Goddard School on North Western are learning this summer and this week they are learning about pets.
Each summer Goddard School’s across the nation choose from a provided list of curriculum to use with their students that would be popular with the children. From learning about insects to a tiger safari, each summer is filled with creative learning.
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