COVINGTON -- The Newton County School System will continue to use its bus fuel card system, which it implemented last school year as a savings strategy.
Last month, the Newton County Board of Education unanimously approved the renewal of the contract with McPherson Companies Inc. of Atlanta for the Fuelz Fleet Card system for fueling alternatives for the transportation department. As recommended by NCSS Superintendent Gary Mathews, the contract will expire next October.
The transportation department began using the card system in October 2011 for the first time.
NCSS Deputy Superintendent Dennis Carpenter predicted last fall that the school system could save between $150,000 and $300,000 in the first year. He reported to the board last month that the program has saved the system about $65,000 since it was phased in over the past year.
He said the fuel card reader installed at the pump at the system's service center, which cost about $9,500, allowed the transportation department to gather detailed information on vehicle fuel consumption and driver fueling practices.
"Upon review of this data, specific buses identified as operating at a higher cost because of the distance traveled and overtime cost associated with drivers were allowed to refuel at certain designated fuel stations located in the district at the discretion of the transportation administrators," Carpenter told the board members. "This process has saved approximately 680 gallons of fuel per week."
He said the department will continue to conduct weekly and monthly reviews of data to make adjustments as necessary and maximize savings opportunities.
Cards that transportation officials will use have controls like pump shut off, real-time transaction details and email alerts. Limits can be placed on fuel grades and the number of transactions or gallons per transaction.
The cards allow drivers to refuel at designated and pre-approved sites located along the driver's route. The system is allowed to track individual driver data in real time.
NCSS pays a 1 percent administrative fee for access to fuel consumption and usage data. There are no fees for transactions or annual usage, and the system provides tax-free billing.