[ The Real McCoy Online Home ]                                                                                                                       August 8, 2008
Community

Work force can help reduce 
consumption of vehicle fuel

By Rob Schuette, The Real McCoy Staff

Fort McCoy personnel can help mitigate the high cost of fuel for the installationís government vehicle fleet by employing good fuel-efficiency practices.

Photo: Tony Vasquez of the 163rd Ordnance Company of Irvine, Calif., fills a bus with fuel at the Fort McCoy Central Fuel Issue Facility. The 163rd was training at Fort McCoy as part of Patriot Warrior 2008. (Photo by Rob Schuette)
Tony Vasquez of the 163rd Ordnance Company of Irvine, Calif., fills a bus with fuel at the Fort McCoy Central Fuel Issue Facility. The 163rd was training at Fort McCoy as part of Patriot Warrior 2008. (Photo by Rob Schuette)

Jane Schmidt, the Installation Transportation officer, and Marci Martin, the Berring Straits Aki (BSA)/LB&B Transportation manager, said many of these strategies also will help personnel save fuel costs in the private sector, as well, as gasoline prices hover near $4.

"Personnel should treat government vehicles like they are their own," Martin said. "There are regular maintenance checks that can help improve fuel economy."

Getting regular oil changes helps keep engines in top condition and improves fuel economy. Martin said ensuring that tires are properly inflated by checking the air pressure monthly can help ensure a vehicle gets optimum gas mileage.

One of the key actions drivers can take to reduce fuel costs is to slow down and drive the speed limit, both on post and off post, especially for highway/Interstate driving, Schmidt said.

The federal government fuel-economy Web site states that as a rule of thumb for every five miles an hour a motorist travels over 60 mph it is like spending an additional 20 cents per gallon of gas.

For more information, see http://www.fueleconomy.gov.

"Another thing we often see happening at Fort McCoy is personnel will drop people off at a building and wait for them," Schmidt said. "Or they will leave the vehicle running while they run into a building and then return to the vehicle."

That is a bad strategy in two ways, Schmidt said. First, government policy/regulations state that when a government vehicle is stopped and unoccupied it should be secured, or in other words locked. Because most government vehicles used at Fort McCoy are dispatched with only one set of keys, it means the vehicle canít be left running and secured at the same time.

Secondly, a vehicle that is stopped is getting zero miles per gallon of gas as long as the vehicle is idling, she said. People who start and idle vehicles to cool them down in summer or heat them up in winter before driving are wasting fuel.


"Personnel should treat government vehicles like they are their own. There are regular maintenance checks that can help improve fuel economy."

Marci Martin,
BSA/LB&B Transportation Manager

Schmidt said sometimes vehicles must be started to help clear frost from the windows before driving the vehicles in the winter.

Fuel costs can be further reduced if personnel make responsible decisions about combining trips whenever possible, where they fuel government vehicles and what type of vehicles they use, Schmidt and Martin said.

Schmidt said if someone is planning to see two people in the same office, it would conserve fuel if they could schedule seeing both personnel during the same trip, rather than making two separate trips. Likewise, if they are planning to make several stops in the same area it would make sense to combine the trips, if possible.

Fort McCoy has several types of government vehicles available for use, including compact sedans, vans and trucks. Schmidt said personnel should carefully choose which vehicle they use.

The compact sedans get better gas mileage and are suitable for shorter trips around post and being driven on the highway. Trucks are more suitable for being driven to the ranges.

Martin said that personnel should fill their gas tanks on post whenever possible.

"Fuel costs for government vehicles are cheaper if you use government facilities (the Central Fuel Issue Facility at Fort McCoy) than if you get fuel off post," she said. "So if youíre driving to Fort Snelling (Minnesota), itís cheaper to the government if you ensure the gas tank is full before you leave Fort McCoy."

Another good strategy is to rideshare if a number of personnel are going to the same facility for a meeting, Martin said. Other strategies to help reduce fuel costs for your POV are to use a post taxi for official business trips on post.

Martin said if people are sending mail or packages to other locations on post, and donít have a strict time limit, it is more economical to use the postís inter-installation mail service rather than use a vehicle to deliver it.

"There is a federal executive order that mandates the federal government reduce its use of fuel 2 percent a year based on 2005 statistics," Martin said. "This would mandate a reduction of 20 percent by 2015."

For more information about government vehicle use, refer to government regulations or call Schmidt at (608) 388-6549 or Martin at (608) 388-3714.

 

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