“We have a $24,000 fuel budget for a fleet of four ambulances. Typically, we do not use them all at once. Usually, two are in service at any one time.”
Last year, the fleet consumed $18,200 on a budget of $15,500. “At the beginning of last year, prices were lower. By the middle of the year, they went up, so at the end, we were feeling the crunch,” he said.
To save on fuel, Hilkey said that ambulances sometimes transport two patients at once to the same destination. “It’s almost a coincidence when that happens. We can’t plan for or schedule these runs. This saves money for the patients and costs less with fuel and staffing.”
Hospital CEO Alisa Coleman said that the department makes every effort to provide needed maintenance for its ambulance fleet. She said that regular service for the vehicles, down to proper tire maintenance provides significant savings.
“We provide training on how to drive to save fuel costs and maintenance twice a year. With individual calls to different locations throughout the county at different times, there is no way we can combine runs,” said Hilkey.
Training includes how to best start and stop ambulances, cornering and gunning the engine, according to Hilkey. “We have videos and practice sessions to go over the lessons. We do other things too, but mostly focus on the wear and tear on our vehicles.”
Find out what high fuel costs mean to official vehicles in Trigg County by reading this series in The Cadiz Record.