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Cut a knot, get $40,000

According to the December 2008 issue of Alaska Fish and Wildlife News, state workers at the Department of Fish & Game saved $40,000 by cutting one knot. How?

“Last winter we were watching fuel prices going up, and we bought a set of fuel meters that allowed us to judge fuel consumption very accurately in real time,” Sandstrom said.

It looks like we managed to reduce our consumption by about 30 to 35 percent, Sandstrom said. And basically, we did it by slowing down about one knot, 10 percent less from our normal cruise speed.

At the $4.00/gal price of fuel last winter, this enabled the crew of the R/V Media to save roughly $40,000.

This report also shows the value of curiosity and questioning assumptions. As the article in Alaska Fish and Wildlife news relates,

The crew had all the fuel curves and information from the manufacturers, but they wanted to do their own tests comparing speed to fuel consumption and find a “sweet spot” for fuel efficiency. The standard, accepted cruise speed for years has been 9 ½ knots, running at 1460 rpms. The engines use about 32 gallons of fuel an hour when underway at that speed.

Slowing the speed to 8 ½ knots and running at 1250 rpms reduced fuel consumption to just 19 gallons per hour.

Even before these dramatic fuel savings, state and federal workers were saving you money in this area. The ship R/V Media is shared between the Alaska Department of Fish and Game and by scientists from NOAA. That way there is one ship where there could have been two.

This is going to be my last post for about the next week. Tomorrow I hop on a plane to Anchorage and then Kodiak for events related to the Alaska Library Association annual conference. I’m doing a presentation at the conference and some employee training before and after. Any blogging I might do will be conference related postings at the blog for the Alaska Library Association. If you’re an AkLA member reading this, I hope to see you there!


One Response

  1. Amazing how much money can be saved with just a tiny decrease in speed. Hopefully other government agencies that run boats hear about this and look into similar measures.

    Thanks for the article.

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