The City of Sanford is working hard to cut fuel consumption and save money. Any unnecessary travel has been eliminated. For example, if city personnel are traveling to Raleigh on city business, each department is contacted to see if there is anything that needs to be dropped off, picked up, etc., in that area. This is not just used for out of town travel. In town trips are also consolidated.
A propane injection system is currently being tested on one of the cities diesel pick-up trucks. So far this has improved the fuel mileage for that vehicle by approximately 100%. This looks very promising; however the cost of the injection system is close to $4000.00. This is the test period of this project. If successful, the city may consider installing this system on more of the fleet. Hopefully the price of these units will come down as different companies begin to grow into this new market.
To save additional money, the oil change interval has been extended from 3000 miles to 4000 miles on all vehicles, with the exception of the Police Departments patrol fleet. These front line vehicles are used 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They require brake inspection and servicing every 3000 miles. A synthetic oil is also being tested in hopes of producing less ware on the engines of city vehicles.
The Police Department will be phasing out the V-8 engine, Ford Crown Victoria used for detective vehicles. The new detective cars will be the V-6 engine, Chevrolet Impala. These cars also cost $4000.00 less than the Crown Victoria. In the past, front line patrol cars were moved to the detective unit or other city departments. The new program will retire the V-8’s used by those departments and new fuel efficient V-6’s will be purchased. The estimated savings from changing the current policy of “hand-me-downs,” combined with other new policies, is estimated to reduce fuel consumption by 20%.
Five vehicles were retired and not replaced this year. This saved money on the maintenance and insurance on these vehicles. Instead of replacing these vehicles, a vehicle “pool” has been established at the city garage. This “pool” allows departments that require transportation on an irregular basis to have access to a vehicle. This also allows these vehicles to be used to their maximum potential.
The City will continue to look into bio-fuels, hybrids, ethanol, smaller vehicles, etc. Smaller vehicles where practical, and early vehicle retirement represents a change in philosophy for the city concerning vehicles. Reducing consumption and saving money is the goal regardless of the price of fuel. These new practices will not stop if the price of fuel becomes less expensive. Hopefully, when the numbers come in, we’ll be able to show just how much money we’ve saved. This is a great step in the right direction.
If you have any questions on this issue, please call City Manager, Hal Hegwer at 919-775-8201 or Steve Brewer at 919-770-9587.