Rising fuel costs are putting a dent in EMS company budgets, especially because the gas doesn't last for very long, "ambulances get about a whopping six miles a gallon so they're not the most economical vehicle out there," explained Campbell. Tekin added, "couple days, couple days really, sometimes a lot less than that depending on how busy you are."
Emergency service providers are left with few options to battle the financial burden. They can't limit their amount of travel or cut staff, "what we can do and what will happen is if the price for fuel in our fuel consumption budget all of a sudden is up by 20% then you have to look at other places and start to make cuts," said Campbell.
They're robbing Peter to pay Paul, "cutting back the budget from other line items whether it be uniforms, or certain supplies that we may not be using as much different items, office supplies," said Tekin.
Most will stop feeling the squeeze after gas prices drop for a couple weeks. Ambulance companies say it will take much longer than that to get rid of the sting, "a permanent solution or at least stability of the fuel market I think would be helpful for everybody," said Campbell.
Until that happens EMS companies will be bracing for whatever the oil market throws at them.
EMS providers do have one saving grace. They're able to buy fuel at state bid pricing. They say it's about 60 cents less than fuel sold at gas stations