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Fuel price increases affect Minot Air Force Base

MINOT AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. -- Due to continued uncertainty of fuel prices around the world and to ensure solvency of the Defense Working Capital Fund, standard fuel prices in the Department of Defense increased June 1.

Here at Minot Air Force Base this resulted in the cost of unleaded fuel increasing for government vehicles from $1.95 to $2.47 per gallon and bio-diesel increasing from $2.09 to $2.64 per gallon.

This fuel price increase is driving a $324 million fuel bill for the Air Force for this fiscal year. The Air Staff is working on a future plan to cover this shortfall. Currently, Air Combat Command is operating on the "you fly-we buy" concept so jet fuel expenses will be covered. In addition, the Air Combat Command Budget Office recently issued a budget execution report data call to the bases this past Monday to identify any projected shortfalls with ground fuel costs.

During the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2005 Minot used roughly 56,000 gallons of diesel fuel and 89,500 gallons of unleaded fuel at $1.70 a gallon, totaling over $248,000. If Team Minot uses the same amount of ground fuel in the fourth quarter it will cost roughly $370,000 for diesel and unleaded, a 30 percent increase from the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2005.

According to Joan Beardsley, 5th Logistics Readiness Squadron funds manager, the squadron is expecting to spend approximately $2,000 more each month on ground fuel. She expects LRS to surpass their annual target for fuel expenses by mid-July. Shortfalls will have to be made up by diverting funds from other funded areas.

Air Combat Command recommends bases implement fuel conservation measures to alleviate some of the financial burden associated with fuel price increases. The following are some fuel conservation examples:

• Operate vehicles and equipment only when required

• Eliminate base shuttle service

• Maximize foot patrols when feasible

• Prevent unnecessary vehicle and equipment idling
• Limit air conditioner/heater use in vehicles

• Consider using low speed vehicles like electric vehicles, scooters, or golf carts

The 5th LRS Vehicle Operations Flight has already implemented one of these conservation measures. The base shuttle was eliminated and replaced with an on-call base taxi operation May 15. This measure saved Team Minot approximately $2,100 in fuel and operating expenses in the first month.
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