Cities coping with rising cost of fueling municipal vehicles

Published 1:13 pm Wednesday, July 13, 2022

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Local governments in Minnesota are trying to find creative solutions to managing the cost of fueling their fleets of vehicles as gas prices remain high.

With gas prices recently near $5 a gallon in the Twin Cities, municipal leaders are looking for ways keep police squad cars, fire engines, dump trucks and park equipment fueled, yet stay on budget.

Many Minnesota communities are trying new ways to cut costs.

The city of Buffalo is urging carpooling and checking tire pressure on its vehicles to stretch a tank of gas.

“We’re projecting we will be coming in over our fuel budget,” said Taylor Gronau, Buffalo’s assistant city administrator. “However, a lot of those trips are necessary and needed.”

Several communities are trying to add more electric and hybrid vehicles to their fleets — only to find huge backlogs, the Star Tribune reports.

Earlier this summer, Minneapolis started a program that gave home inspectors the option of taking e-bikes to job sites. It saved wear and tear on the vehicle fleet and cut the city’s gas consumption. Several other city agencies, from IT and public works staff are also looking into e-bikes.

While dozens of local governments are under state fuel contacts, which cover a majority of fuel purchases in bulk and at a fixed rate, many other communities don’t participate, including Buffalo, which relies on retail gas stations to fuel its fleet.