Gas prices affect local government

While many drivers are complaining about higher gas prices, the latest spike at the pump is also affecting some government agencies, schools and other public organizations as they fuel their fleets.

Triple A says the average gas price in Central Ohio rose to a dollar 74-cents this week.

For most Central Ohio agencies the increase in gas prices has had minimal affect on their fleets.

Ohio Highway Patrol spokesman Lieutenant Rick Fambro says they encourage their patrol officers to find the lowest possible gas prices. Fambro says each week a target gas price is posted at Highway Patrol posts across the state. Fambro says the patrol also buys gas in bulk so troopers can fill up at their patrol posts.

Like the Highway Patrol, the city of Columbus buys gas in bulk and also gives some of its drivers credit cards to purchase gasoline.

Mary Carran Webster is the assitant public service director. She says snow plows, salt trucks and garbage trucks fuel at different city gas pumps, other city employees use credit cards at area gas stations. Webster says it is difficult to pinpoint the affect the latest gasoline price increase is having on the city’s fleet. She says the city’s goal is to conserve gas now so an increase in prices has little affect on the bottom line as the year continues.

A spokesman for the Ohio Department of Transportation says the agency has not seen a large change in its gas prices because it buys in bulk. He says a longterm spike in gas prices would likely have more of an affect on the department’s gas budget than the temporary highs and lows that prices have gone through in the last few years.

A spokesman for Columbus Public Schools says the district uses primarily diesel fuel for its buses…but the cost of diesel has also increased by more than 30 cents per gallon since September.