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John Daley ReportingThe rising cost of fuel is putting the squeeze on, and it's not just for everyday motorists. It's also hitting larger corporations and agencies that use a lot of gas.
All of us in our gas dependent modern world feel it when the price of oil climbs. But consider the impact for large, institutional consumers, like the Utah Transit Authority.
George Bryant, UTA Maintenance Manager: "Here at the Meadowbrook facility, which is the largest facility here in Salt Lake, we'll pump about 8000 gallons of fuel per night."
Just since the start of the year the price of gas for UTA, which gets cheaper federal fuel rates, has skyrocketed from 1.18 a gallon for diesel to 1.75 a gallon.
George Bryant: "This is unfortunately one of those variables that we don't control. We can control a lot of things, but this is not something we have a lot of control over."
With hundreds of vehicles on the road a one cent increase costs UTA $50,000 a day. The annual hit to the bottom line? $2.7 million.
The average UTA bus gets 4.5 miles a gallon, but the agency is looking at a variety of measures to improve fuel efficiency, like reducing the amount of time buses idle. Already they've saved three percent on fuel costs doing that. They're also investing in smaller buses and considering adding some much more fuel-efficient diesel electric vehicles.
George Bryant: "We are very conscious of the cost of fuel, and us as an organization are really making a shift right now to look at every place that's possible to save on fuel."
With no end in sight for higher gas prices, UTA is counting on paying more and more in the future while it also expects to get more riders looking to save money taking mass transit.
Over the objections of advocates for the poor and disabled UTA is raising fares, mostly due to those rising fuel costs.
On May first the basic adult fare goes up 5-cents. Next year it rises another 10-cents. Disabled and senior tickets will increase 10-cents in May then 5-cents next year. The fare for paratransit will increase 5-cents in 2006.