Kanawha County's bulk fuel program pays off
CHARLESTON, W.Va. - A little more than 10 years ago, the Kanawha County Commission spearheaded an effort to save agencies money in fuel costs, and that effort has now paid off in spades.
In 2002, commissioners and officials with the Kanawha Valley Regional Transportation Authority looked at ways to save money by purchasing fuel in bulk. They were aiming for a set price that is not subject to market fluctuations.
Agencies around the county could then purchase the fuel from KRT, General Manager Denny Dawson said.
The savings garnered since the program was implemented in 2002 is $940,924. That total includes $581,499 in gas and $359,425 in diesel.
"I don't think anyone expected it to save this much money," Dawson said. "But we certainly hoped to see some savings."
Agencies like the Kanawha County Sheriff's Department, the assessor's office, Kanawha Valley Senior Services, Kanawha County Parks and Recreation Commission, the Charleston Sanitary Board and numerous volunteer fire departments purchase fuel from KRT.
"As far as gasoline goes, the Kanawha County Sheriff's Department uses the most," Dawson said.
KRT uses the most diesel fuel of any of the agencies taking advantage of the program. Dawson was not in his office during the interview and did not have specific numbers close at hand.
"But KRT alone has saved a lot of money with this," he said. "It's a win/win situation."
The hardest part about initiating the program was setting up the infrastructure, Dawson said. Filling stations needed to be strategically placed in the county to provide service to the agencies taking advantage of the savings, he said.
So, a filling station was placed in Nitro and one in Marmet. Another one is located at the KRT facility in Charleston's West Side.
Commission President Kent Carper said he has been very pleased with the savings generated by the program.
"This is a good thing," he said. "The majority of the credit for setting this up should go to KRT."
Commissioner Dave Hardy also said he was very pleased with the program. Hardy said the fuel purchase program was one of his priorities when he took office.
"And now we've saved local governments almost $1 million," he said.
Hardy believes the program has worked flawlessly since its inception a decade ago.
"This is an example of where intergovernmental cooperation did work and it proves that things like this can be done," he said. "I'm very proud of this."
In other KRT news: The Kanawha Valley Regional Transportation board voted on Thursday to raise the fare for the Charleston to Huntington run. The fare will go up $1 across the board as of July 1, Dawson said.
That means those riding from Charleston to Huntington will pay $4 one-way instead of $3. The move is expected to generate about $8,000 extra a year.
"And that will be used to offset our expenses," Dawson said.