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County looking for ways to conserve fuel savve money

PULASKI COUNTY — As gas prices go up, finding ways to bring usage down becomes all the more important.
That’s why Pulaski County officials have set a goal of reducing fuel usage by 15 percent during the 2008-09 Fiscal Year.
“Some fuel reduction is going to have to be realized if we’re going to meet our (2008-2009) budget” predictions, said Assistant County Administrator Robert Hiss. He said he doesn’t know whether 15 percent is the magic number, but it’s at least a starting point.
In an effort to reach or succeed its goal, the county has distributed an “administrative policy” to its departments, providing a list of 25 steps that, if followed, should reduce fuel usage.
Hiss said the list is not an official policy change, but at least four steps on it are potential recommendations for policy changes that could be adopted by the Pulaski County Board of Supervisors in the future.
He called the rest of the list “best practices” for fuel conservation.
The four steps that could potentially become official policy changes include:
• Limiting take-home vehicles to employees needing to make emergency responses;
• Beginning a quarterly gas mileage improvement award for drivers attaining the greatest percentage of improved fuel economy;
• Reducing gas mileage reimbursements to encourage the use of county vehicles rather than personal vehicles, thereby also addressing insurance issues; and
• Purchasing hybrid vehicles and reducing the size of the vehicles when possible.
Drivers of county-owned vehicles have been provided with a list of 17 steps they, or anyone, can take to improve fuel economy:
• Checking tire pressure weekly because under-inflation of eight pounds per square inch results in a five percent decrease in efficiency;
• Reducing engine warm-up. Ford Motor Company reports that gas engines do not require warm-up, and diesels require only one minute of warm-up;
• Turning off engines when not needed for 30 seconds. It takes less fuel to restart the engine than it uses when idling for 30 seconds or more. Turbocharged engines, on the other hand, should idle for two minutes before being shut down;
• Removing unnecessary weight from the vehicle. One hundred pounds of cargo results in a reduction of half a mile per gallon;
• Store items below the cab on trucks to reduce wind resistance;
• Accelerate and brake smoothly;
• Hold off turning on the air-conditioning until the vehicle is cooled by rolling down the windows;
• Reduce speed. Gas economy decreases rapidly at speeds in excess of 60 miles per hour.
• Coordinate errands so as to accomplish multiple tasks during one trip;
• Carpool when possible;
• Use the most economical vehicle for the task at hand;
• Use cruise control or allow the vehicle speed to increase (within speed limits) downhill and decrease when traveling uphill;
• On manual transmission vehicles, use the highest gear that is practical for the driving situation;
• Drive so as to use the highest possible vacuum gage readings once they are installed;
• Allow extra time to reach destinations so as to be able to drive at slower speeds;
• Take the shortest possible distance between points; and
• Be sensitive to vehicle maintenance issues, such as keeping engines properly tuned to improve gas mileage by six to 20 percent, checking air filters monthly, checking battery connections, keeping wheels in alignment to improve gas mileage and extend tire life, and making sure the water temperature is in the normal range.
Members of the county’s support and maintenance staff are being asked to review gas mileage records to spot maintenance issues or bad driving habits that are increasing fuel usage, report vehicle mileage by e-mail monthly, install vacuum gauges within the driver’s field of vision (particularly in high-use vehicles), and consider using Global Positioning Systems to optimize routing of trips.

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County looking for ways to conserve fuel savve money

PULASKI COUNTY — As gas prices go up, finding ways to bring usage down becomes all the more important.
That’s why Pulaski County officials have set a goal of reducing fuel usage by 15 percent during the 2008-09 Fiscal Year.
“Some fuel reduction is going to have to be realized if we’re going to meet our (2008-2009) budget” predictions, said Assistant County Administrator Robert Hiss. He said he doesn’t know whether 15 percent is the magic number, but it’s at least a starting point.
In an effort to reach or succeed its goal, the county has distributed an “administrative policy” to its departments, providing a list of 25 steps that, if followed, should reduce fuel usage.
Hiss said the list is not an official policy change, but at least four steps on it are potential recommendations for policy changes that could be adopted by the Pulaski County Board of Supervisors in the future.
He called the rest of the list “best practices” for fuel conservation.
The four steps that could potentially become official policy changes include:
• Limiting take-home vehicles to employees needing to make emergency responses;
• Beginning a quarterly gas mileage improvement award for drivers attaining the greatest percentage of improved fuel economy;
• Reducing gas mileage reimbursements to encourage the use of county vehicles rather than personal vehicles, thereby also addressing insurance issues; and
• Purchasing hybrid vehicles and reducing the size of the vehicles when possible.
Drivers of county-owned vehicles have been provided with a list of 17 steps they, or anyone, can take to improve fuel economy:
• Checking tire pressure weekly because under-inflation of eight pounds per square inch results in a five percent decrease in efficiency;
• Reducing engine warm-up. Ford Motor Company reports that gas engines do not require warm-up, and diesels require only one minute of warm-up;
• Turning off engines when not needed for 30 seconds. It takes less fuel to restart the engine than it uses when idling for 30 seconds or more. Turbocharged engines, on the other hand, should idle for two minutes before being shut down;
• Removing unnecessary weight from the vehicle. One hundred pounds of cargo results in a reduction of half a mile per gallon;
• Store items below the cab on trucks to reduce wind resistance;
• Accelerate and brake smoothly;
• Hold off turning on the air-conditioning until the vehicle is cooled by rolling down the windows;
• Reduce speed. Gas economy decreases rapidly at speeds in excess of 60 miles per hour.
• Coordinate errands so as to accomplish multiple tasks during one trip;
• Carpool when possible;
• Use the most economical vehicle for the task at hand;
• Use cruise control or allow the vehicle speed to increase (within speed limits) downhill and decrease when traveling uphill;
• On manual transmission vehicles, use the highest gear that is practical for the driving situation;
• Drive so as to use the highest possible vacuum gage readings once they are installed;
• Allow extra time to reach destinations so as to be able to drive at slower speeds;
• Take the shortest possible distance between points; and
• Be sensitive to vehicle maintenance issues, such as keeping engines properly tuned to improve gas mileage by six to 20 percent, checking air filters monthly, checking battery connections, keeping wheels in alignment to improve gas mileage and extend tire life, and making sure the water temperature is in the normal range.
Members of the county’s support and maintenance staff are being asked to review gas mileage records to spot maintenance issues or bad driving habits that are increasing fuel usage, report vehicle mileage by e-mail monthly, install vacuum gauges within the driver’s field of vision (particularly in high-use vehicles), and consider using Global Positioning Systems to optimize routing of trips.

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