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BOE looks at possiblity of Fuelz Fleet Cards

Members of the Washington County Board of Education were recently presented with a possible solution to accountability concerns in fueling its bus fleet.
Scott McDonald, a representative of McPherson Oil Products, shared information about the petroleum company, which is based out of Alabama. He spoke about the company’s creation, Fuelz Fleet Card. The program, McDonald said, is free, due to the company making their money from the gas stations.
“We have deals with Chevron and BP,” he said during last week’s BOE meeting. “We sell them the fuel and that is how we are making our money as a fuel company.”
The Fuelz Fleet Card is an accountability program that provides real time tracking for its customers.
“We can customize this entire program based off where you want to go, what stations are close to you and what (route) is driven by the buses,” McDonald told the board.
The card offers such services as money-saving purchasing control; real-time reporting; a chance to monitor expenses and prevention of unauthorized spending by drivers. All the information is sent to a computer to be monitored.
McDonald said the card tracks how much fuel is going into the vehicle.
“You are buying just what you need at that point,” he said. “If we look at a bus and it has a 75 gallon tank. There is no reason it should get 80 gallons.”
McDonald said a card is provided to the drivers with a five digit pin number. In order to use the card, the driver has to enter the number from their odometer, as well as their pin number.
He said the district can associate a card with a specific vehicle(s). By doing this, McDonald said, the district can monitor if it is losing gallons of gas. That loss will appear within 10 minutes.
“If it goes over or under, you get notified,” he told the board of the amount of gas being pumped into the fleet.
Before attending the meeting, McDonald spent time visiting every school to see where the closest gas stations were.
He said by having the fleet travel to the nearest station, it will save the district fuel mileage and less wear and tear on the fleet.
Board Member Keith Ervin voiced some concerns about some of the locations.
“A lot of these retail places don’t want a bus sitting there filling up with fuel because they would rather have other people buying stuff and gas,” he said.
Director of Schools Ron Dykes said currently the buses essentially have only one site to visit. Fuel is stored on several campuses as well as the bus garage.
Although the district currently does not use fuel cards with their buses at this time, cards are used when vehicles travel outside of the county for a trip, meeting or field trip.
“You are dealing with several issues, issues we have discussed as a board before,” he said.
“(We are) dealing with a huge potential of environmental liability issues, and now you have some security assessment concerns.”
The presentation was made, Dykes said, because the board wanted additional information about replacing fuel tanks. The information presented to the board will be discussed in the next Finance Committee meeting.