Covering Houston County: Dothan's Fight Against the Pain at the Pump

Dothan, AL (WSFA) -- Rising gas prices are causing many to feel the pain in their wallets, but imagine what it must feel like when your paying for thousands of gallons a day.

The city of Dothan knows that pain.

Larry Muench oversees fleet services for the city of Dothan.

Muench is responsible for keeping city vehicles full of fuel and on the roads.

He's concerned about record high gas prices.

"We are, we're like every consumer out there," said Muench.

Muench says rising fuel prices pose quite the challenge when trying to keep city vehicles on the road.

The departments that use the most fuel are police and environmental services, which is garbage collection.

Muench says that those are two services that just can't stop running.

"I think the citizens and rightly so would be quite upset if we said the price of fuel has gotten so high we can't afford to pick up garbage and trash anymore or we're going to park the police cars and not respond to your calls for assistance," said Muench.

If you think your gas bill is high listen to this:

So far this year, the city of Dothan is spending about $9,600 a day on fuel.

$876,616 to date which is 64% of the $1,355,29o budgeted for the 2008 fiscal year.

With prices continuing to rise, Muench says it puts the city in a tough spot.

"We just can't stop purchasing fuel and driving the vehicles and not provide the services," says Muench.

This leaves the city with the task of finding alternatives.

It's trading larger full-sized cars for mid-sized models.

Even adding hybrid vehicles to the city fleet.

As well, it's now buying more ethanol fuel which Muench says the city can buy for three cents less than regular unleaded.

All this in an effort to soften the financial pinch at the pump.

Reporter: Daniel Curtis