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State’s car operation taking a hit from rising gas prices

Posted May 28, 2008
Updated May 29, 2008

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— High oil and gas prices are hiking the price of operating the state's vehicle fleet, and that is being passed on to more than 100 state agencies and universities that use its cars.

“Well, it's a giant rental agency and the cheapest rate in town,” fleet director John Massey said.

Those rates are going up effective July 1, according to a recent memo. The reason: higher fuel prices.

“You never want to see an increase like that, certainly not an unexpected one,” said Keith Acree, spokesman for the Department of Correction.

The Department of Correction is the largest user of the state fleet. Acree said the increase will cost the DOC almost $4 million next year.

“They're using those vehicles to visit offenders in the field, doing curfew checks,” Acree said.

To help ease the cost for client agencies Massey said, the motor pool will add smaller, more fuel-efficient cars.

“Four cylinder in lieu of six cylinders, six cylinders in lieu of eight cylinders,” Massey said.

The state is also buying more hybrids. Currently, there are 124 hybrids in the fleet. Nine more will be purchased this coming year.

Massey said the Department of Transportation is the state's second-largest user and faces a hit of approximately $2 million next year. The DOT said the added expense will likely result in less money for maintenance work and field operations.

As for the DOC, Acree said it is looking into options.

“It's sort of one of these things you look at. You look at it month by month and you manage it best you can,” Acree said.

Motor Fleet Management said this is the first price increase it's had since 2005.


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  • train guy May 29, 2008

    As a state employee who uses state cars from moterfleet, they are still a great deal. They cost us about half of what it would cost to pay our employees to drive their own cars.

  • Corvus May 28, 2008

    drnc, I work in probation and some of us have to drive 10-12 year old cars. How many curfew checks on a sex offender can you do, if your car is broke down on the side of the road?

  • redwarrior May 28, 2008

    drnc, obviously you've never driven one of these fleet vehicles.

  • The Fox May 28, 2008

    If the truck wasn't yellow it was a private contractors truck not DOT.

  • shine May 28, 2008

    I would like to know if the DOC is spending $4million in fuel or $4 million in fuel and payroll.... These stories are speculative. How about the DOT ? I live in the country - Dot was repairing a gravel road - they were a nominal 1/2 mile away from a Ford dually diesel just like mine but it is not DOT yellow....... It was idling when I went by and spent about 45 minutes when I came back by it was sitting in the same place idling.......... If you are going to get something and carry it back that is not a waste.

    If I want to idle my truck for an hour ... well it is my fault - I am paying at the pump....... If we are burning tax payers fuel sitting still for an hour it is the fact that they have no supervision which is the basis of this story.

  • drnc May 28, 2008

    Instead of constantly purchasing new vehicles, let the fleet age a bit. I'd love to see the DOC guys driving a 10-year-old Toyota Corolla.

  • IfByWhiskey-a-go-go May 28, 2008

    It's just GREAT to know you are paying the state's high gas bill along with your own. :(