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Waste Watchers: State drivers fill up on pricey gas

8:45 PM, Oct 15, 2012   |    comments
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ATLANTA -- State HERO drivers have been spotted filling up their tanks at one of the most expensive gas stations in town, even though there's much cheaper fuel close by.

The Georgia Department of Transportation, the agency that oversees the HERO program, says state vehicles can't fill up just anywhere.

Curry Roberts works near the Shell station on Plasters Avenue that advertises diesel for $4.29 a gallon. He says on a daily basis he sees state HERO drivers spending taxpayer dollars to fill up.

Within a mile-and-a-half of the station, you can find diesel for as little as $3.99 a gallon.

"No reflection on the service they're providing, I just have a concern about my taxpayer money being spent unwisely when there are other options."

Actually, there aren't as many options as you would think.

From 6 a.m. to 9 a.m., 11Alive spotted a handful of HERO drivers filling up at the station on Plasters Avenue.

It's one of the stations in metro Atlanta that accepts state credit cards that employees must use to fill up.

By using the card, HERO drivers and other state users aren't charged state tax, so the employees using the Shell on Plasters Avenue aren't paying the full $4.29 a gallon.

Neither would they pay full price at the Chevron Station on Cheshire Bridge Road where diesel is selling for $3.99 a gallon. The owner says he accepts the state credit card. The station is a mile-and-a-half from the Shell station where state workers are paying 30-cents a gallon more.

The DOT's Jill Goldberg says the HERO unit's main objective is to help motorists and clear congestion off of the highways.

"They're not out there looking for expensive gas, but they're not spending time looking to track down a cheap gas station," said Goldberg. "It's really not the best use of their time and energy. It's more important to stay on the road. Congestion is what cost us, not a couple of pennies on gas."

Goldberg says HERO drivers are required to return their vehicles to headquarters with a full tank, and says station on Plasters Avenue just across the street from HERO headquarters helps them do that.

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