ODESSA --Gas prices have been soaring these past couple months. Diesel fuel prices are also climbing. This made us start wondering, how much it would cost to fuel up a school bus?
Big 2 headed to E.C.I.S.D. to find out how they're dealing with the high prices.
E.C.I.S.D. has a fuel budget of $2.75 a gallon, but they told me right now they're paying $2.88 at the pump. With an 80 gallon tank per bus, it costs over $300.00 to fill up. But the district says they're not worried just yet.
Driving this bus for seven years, Shannon Alfaro has burned through her share of diesel.
"I have a special-ed route that goes from Goldsmith all the way back out to Pleasant Farms, said E.C.I.S.D.
Bus Driver Shannon Alfaro. "That's a long ways in one day."
And there's no sign of anything slowing down anytime soon.
"Probably not," said Alfaro. "Because the way that people don't have the transportation anymore, hey we cant afford the gas, so maybe more kids will use it then ever before."
Approximately 8,000 kids per day are driven around by these buses. E.C.I.S.D. Transportation Director David Morris says that's not gonna change.
"The school district realizes the importance of getting kids to and from school," said Morris.
Even though the district is spending a little more than their $2.75 fuel budget, Morris says that's OK.
"In the beginning of the school year we were well below that in what we were paying for fuel," said Morris. "Currently were above that price. So, as long as we average $2.75 a gallon or less our fuel budget will sustain us."
But the district is giving bus drivers some tips.
"[They tell us] not to idle very long if we don't have to," said Alfaro. "Not to accelerate. And when we're coming to a stop, break slowly."
This will conserve fuel -- allowing bus drivers to run their routes with as little gas as possible.
"We need to do what we have been told to do -- to try and help preserve what we got," said Alfaro. "Because, I mean, this is our job,"
Morris told Big 2 that if prices continue to go up, E.C.I.S.D. will have to cut back on services or increase their fuel budget. The district is currently putting their final touches on the budget for next year and should know more by this summer.
Jackie Smith can be reached via email at email@example.com.