Rising fuel prices hurting county road clean up - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Rising fuel prices hurting county road clean up

By Brandi Hodges - bio | email

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) -We've all noticed the spike in the price at the pump over the past week.  While most of us fill up once a week, county employees have to fill up the tanks of their equipment almost daily.

"We've got around 12 to 15 gravel trucks that run everyday and probably 15 road graders that run everyday," said Bo James, road foreman with the Craighead County Road Department.

Everyday equipment has to get re-fueled.

"Every time they come in you know you're spending money and its several thousand dollars a day," said James.

They use about 1,500 gallons of fuel a day and about 6,000 gallons a week.  On Tuesday, Craighead County Judge Ed Hill said they bought two tanker loads of fuel.

"If you're looking at even $3.00 a gallon you're looking at $20,000, $21,000 $22,000 for a tanker load," said Hill.

If those prices hold steady or go up they'll have to do something.

"We budgeted $550,000 this year," said Hill.

Hill said they try to use about 8.3% of their fuel budget every month.  In January they used 10% and with the big price jump at the end of February, he expects that number to go even higher.

Before the rise in fuel prices sending the equipment out and then filling it up everyday wasn't that big of a deal, but now that the prices have gone up they may have to take a look at what routes they continue to run.

"If it keeps going up we'll have to cut back somewhere and it will be cutting back on the routes and trying to take care of our roads," said James.

With the future of fuel prices unknown, Hill said he is considering buying even more fuel, both gasoline and diesel, while it's still at the current price.

"It's going to put us in a bind," said Hill.

Judge Hill said as the summer gets closer they will really start looking at where they can cut back some and where they can move money around.

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