SYRACUSE -- City officials are moving ahead with a proposal to install a centralized fueling station at the Department of Public Works as a means of locking in lower fuel prices for city vehicles.
City Manager Robert Rice said the state-subsidized setup could be in place by the end of May and will reduce the costs of diesel and gas by as much as 36 cents a gallon.
The city currently pays approximately $3.36 a gallon for diesel and $3 a gallon for gas under the state program for fuel purchases. Those rates would go down to $2.99 a gallon for diesel and $2.64 for gas, with the new setup, given current market prices, according to Rice.
Rice said the state will provide the dispenser and pump for the setup and the city will be required to buy storage tanks for both the gas and diesel. He estimated the project will cost the city approximately $8,000 and will pay for itself within a year.
Regardless of the price of diesel or gas, Rice estimates the new state setup will save the city approximately $1,000 a month in fuel costs.
The cost of fuel has a significant impact on city operational costs, Mayor Jamie Nagle said. She noted that a 10 cent increase in fuel costs per gallon ends up costing the city approximately $300 a month more in operational expenses.
The new centralized fueling station is part of an overall plan to be more efficient and green, Rice said. He has suggested the city is looking at using more hybrid vehicles in its fleet in an effort to be more efficient.
At a recent meeting, one resident suggested the city should look at converting to compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles, and Rice said he is open to that possibility, though he said some issues with using CNG could pose a problem.
"I'm not adverse to that," Rice told officials. "I want to go to a more sustainable fleet."