The City of Brazil is not experiencing a gas shortage at this time, Mayor Tom Arthur said Thursday afternoon. The city buys fuel for its vehicles from Growers Co-op.
However, Arthur said the city is looking at ways to save fuel.
"We are looking at the routes we use for trash pick-ups and trying to find ways to be more efficient," he said.
The Clay County Sheriff's Department is feeling the high cost of gasoline along with the public. The only difference is, when officers buy their gas at retail outlets, they are not charged tax because the department is a government entity.
"We're experiencing high prices like everyone else," said Chief Deputy Doug Barr on Thursday.
Gas prices are a budget concern for Sheriff Mike Heaton, who was named sheriff on March 19.
"We are having budget hearings next Wednesday, and I don't know if we have projected enough money to get us through the year," Heaton said on Thursday.
When Heaton became sheriff, gas cost $2.40 per gallon and deputies were allowed to take their cars home and use them, if they paid for their own gas for off-duty use.
Deputies may be allowed to continue taking their patrol cars home, but may be required to park them until they return to duty, to conserve fuel.
The Clay County Highway Department buys its diesel fuel in bulk and received a tanker-full last week. The department purchases its fuel from Grower's Co-op.
Joe Milner is the Energy Manager of Growers Co-op.
Speaking from his Terre Haute office Thursday, Milner said he expects the supply of gasoline "to be extremely tight through Labor Day and probably longer than that."
He echoed President Bush's request that drivers conserve as much fuel as possible.
The price Growers Co-op pays its suppliers for fuel has been "increasing fairly steadily" and the co-operative has been forced to pass the increase on to its customers.
Growers Co-op is somewhat different than other wholesalers in that it is owned by its farmer members. Milner said the co-op's priorities in light of shrinking fuel supplies will be to supply product to its farmers first and then other customers, including commercial and municipal customers second.
Growers Co-op is also a shareholder in Countrymark, a regional co-op that owns a refinery at Switz City, Ind.
So far, Growers Co-op has been able to supply fuel to most of its customers, but not to independent dealers, Milner said.