Chesterfield, Henrika, GRTC: How record gas prices affect settlements, transit suppliers

RICHMAND, Virginia (WRIC) – As gas prices continue to rise, reaching record highs in Virginia, both passengers and vehicle suppliers are affected by the pump.

According to General Service Director John Neal, Chesterfield County plans to spend an additional $ 150,000 by the end of March to refuel its car.

“We are seeing price increases, but we are working with our budget department to make sure the departments are not feeling any influence and can still drive their vehicles the way they worked in the past,” he said. “Any vehicle, be it a school or county, gas or diesel, we can have these conversations to account for the extra cost.”

Neil said Chesterfield County has an existing balance sheet fund from which money can be redistributed as needed.

“The budget has some flexibility, there are some reserves set aside for unexpected natural disasters or similar events,” he told 8News.

Despite rising pump prices, Neil said as a result, Chesterfield County residents will see neither a reduction in services nor an increase in taxes.

In addition, in Henry County, officials said more is being spent on car fuel. But, as in Chesterfield County, it does not affect service or tax increases.

School units also pay more for fuel for their cars.

«HCPS [Henrico County Public Schools] pays for fuel for buses across the county. Prices for diesel fuel are adjusted weekly (Friday-Friday) and have risen by 77 cents since March 1, ”a school spokesman said. “The Department of Transport annually provides funds for fuel costs. If necessary, the money can be transferred to the transport budget to cover the unforeseen increase.

Although Chesterfield County Public Schools (CCPS) did not specify how much more was spent on fueling their cars, a spokesman said pump prices also affected the school unit.

“Our school system is affected by rising fuel costs as well as other organizations in our region and across the country,” said Sean Smith, CCPS’s chief communications and public relations officer. “Fleet operation is a critical function for our unit, and we continue to assess financial impact to determine any necessary budget adjustments.”

However, for the transit company Greater Richmond Transit Company (GRTC), the cost of diesel fuel for its fleet remains unchanged due to the agreed price, which is fixed for the next six months.

“Most of our buses run on compressed natural gas, CNG, and are delivered through the city of Richmond,” said GRTC spokeswoman Ashley Mason. “Our need for diesel is not as great as it used to be.”

From 2017, GRTC reduces the amount it spends on diesel, excluding the 2021 fiscal year. In fiscal year 2017, for example, the transit company spent $ 1,413,398 on diesel fuel, according to budget documents. But by the time the budget for the 2022 fiscal year was approved, that figure had dropped to $ 423,915. According to Mason, only 47 of the 157 GRTC buses run on diesel.

“If you see rising gas prices as well as temperatures, we will see an increase in the number of passengers, and that’s what we feel now, more people are riding the buses,” she said.

Mason noted that now the transit company is reviewing its future budget. But it is too early to know what impact the current increase in gas prices will have, especially in connection with the renewal of GRTC’s diesel contract with PAPCO / World Fuel Services in a few months.

Regardless of the price of gas, Mason said GRTC’s promise of free travel would be valid until June 2025.

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