Phasing Out The Big, Red Fire Truck

Notoriously gas-guzzling SUVs are being used in place of fire trucks to reduce fuel usage and costs.
by | April 7, 2011 AT 2:55 PM

 With rising gas prices (by eight cents just this past week, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration), filling up the gas tank is far from cheap -- especially for enormous fire trucks. To try to conserve fuel, one of the fire stations in Arlington, Texas, is reducing its use of trucks and increasing its use of SUVs, reports the Arlington Citizen-Journal. Obviously, an SUV with just two members can’t put out a fire or effectively respond to car wrecks, but it can go to certain medicals calls that wouldn’t require use of the traditional gas-guzzling, red truck. According to Assistant Fire Chief Alan Kassen, the Chevy Suburban (the squad’s SUV of choice) may be more efficient in that it gets 10 to 12 miles per gallon of gasoline, while the fire truck only gets 3.6 miles per gallon of diesel. He projects that this program could save the station $4,600 in just one year. Aside from reducing trips to the pump, the station also hopes to extend the life of their fire trucks and reduce their maintenance costs, which often cost more than repairs on an SUV. The pilot is expected to run for 90 to 180 days and is factoring fuel costs into its study.