What the high gas prices could mean for state agencies and vehicles

Mar 14, 2022, 7:18 PM | Updated: Jun 19, 2022, 9:21 pm

SALT LAKE CITY— Gas prices are going to have a “huge impact” on state agencies that are using hundreds of vehicles for their operation. The overall difference could mean hundreds of thousands of dollars for the state’s fleet vehicles.

“They haven’t been funded for these kinds of prices,” said Marilee Richins, deputy executive director with the Utah Department of Government Operations. “So they will have to absorb this into existing budgets, and likely, that will be very painful”

Right now, the state has just over 6,100 vehicles in its fleet. The main state agencies include the Utah Department of Transportation, Public Safety, Division of Natural Resources and Home Services.

Many of the vehicles fill up at state-run fueling stations. Right now, they are still using fuel that the state purchased for about $3.40 a gallon.

But in a couple weeks, Richins says they will be purchasing fuel at well over $4 dollars a gallon — a rapid increase they have not seen for some time.

“Usually, gas prices go up slow,” Richins said. “This has happened really, really quickly, so the impact will be severe.”

Richins says if you compared what the state paid in March of 2021 to what they could now pay at the new rates for one month, the increase is huge. UDOT shows a $337,000 increase. Public safety up by $205,000. DNR up $112,000, and Human Services up $18,00. That’s a $672,000 increase from one year to the next in gas fees.

“These are huge differences and that too me will likely mean the agencies may need to start looking at some strategies so that they don’t have to go through as much fuel as they did a year ago at this time,” Richins said.

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What the high gas prices could mean for state agencies and vehicles