Rising costs of fuel affects use of depot vehicles
Government pays 50 cents more a gallon than two years ago for unleaded

ANNISTON ARMY DEPOT, Ala.--The high cost of fuel affects us all, whether we operate vehicles or not. Various types of vehicles are used to transport commodities and people, almost daily.

Because motorized equipment is used to remanufacture tracked and combat vehicles when performing Anniston Army Depot's mission, there is no escaping the increasing fuel costs.

The Defense Energy Support Center, headquartered at Fort Belvoir, Va., is responsible for providing the Department of Defense and other government agencies with comprehensive energy support, to include fuel supplies.

Here at the depot, four types of refined fuel products are used: diesel; regular unleaded gasoline; jet fuel, or JP8; and liquid petroleum gas, or LP.

Working six days a week, employees at the installation's main fuel station are accustomed to keeping an ample supply readily available.

Diesel, currently being purchased by the government at a reduced rate of $2.93 per gallon compared to approximately $4.09 at local service stations, is in demand. Its uses include fuel for forklifts, tow trucks and tractors, locomotives, tractor trailers, tactical vehicles, M1 Abrams tanks, engines in the dynamometer testing arena, and Clyde, the 70-ton crane.

Unleaded gasoline used in government owned vehicles is also purchased at a reduced rate per gallon-currently it's $2.97 per gallon, which is up 50 cents from 2006.

According to Larry Davis, directorate of public work's motor vehicle supervisor, not only is his staff of four employees responsible for the three fuel stations, located at buildings 6, 422, and 78, but they deliver.

Beginning as early as 5:30 a.m., they operate 2,000- and 5,000-gallon tankers filled with different fuels and make their rounds to the industrial and ammunition limited areas.

Though there's a duty to fulfill the depot's fuel needs, safety is high on their list of priorities. "We must abide by the rules," Davis said. "We can't afford to deviate from them."

Davis advises drivers who ride behind the tankers to be mindful of the trucks' slowing and stopping points. The state law requires trucks carrying hazardous materials to stop at railroad crossing even if a train isn't coming down the tracks, he said.

"Our excellent safety practices actually began in the main office years ago and are now customary," said Ronald Lackey, lead motor vehicle operator. "It just makes sense to know how to respond in the event of an accidental spill."

"While it may seem useless," Lackey said, "our lives are at stake as well as those around us."

During 2007, the depot consumed more than 815,000 gallons of diesel, 350,000 gallons of regular unleaded gasoline, and 395,000 gallons of JP8.