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Opportunities for Police Cost Savings Without Sacrificing Service Quality: Reducing Fuel Consumption

NCJ Number
Philip Schainman; Aaron Horvath
Date Published
February 2013
40 pages
This paper recommends ways to reduce police agency fuel costs without diminishing the quality of police services.
An especially promising approach is the use of hybrid, high-fuel-economy vehicles for part if not all of the patrol fleet. Hybrids typically use one-third of the fuel consumed by conventional vehicles, which quickly pays for the higher initial costs and conversion to police patrol use. Other ways to reduce patrol fuel costs are fuel-saving driving practices (e.g., reduced idling and reduced unnecessary accelerations); fuel-saving maintenance practices (e.g., proper tire pressure, working oxygen regulator); and the use of devices in vehicles that monitor inefficient fuel-use patterns. Other means of reducing patrol fuel costs are shedding unnecessary cargo weight; stricter accountability for take-home vehicles; and increased patrols on foot, bicycle, Segway, and other alternative vehicles. Providing patrol officers with mobile communication equipment and data-reporting equipment can reduce the number of trips to the office in the course of a shift. Other fuel-reduction options are the use of online citizen reporting for minor incidents where an officer's presence is unnecessary; reduction in false alarms; and the revision of police district boundaries to provide a better geographic area to match police resources with needs. Fuel-saving policies adopted by various police departments are reviewed. 17 exhibits and 32 notes