As the weather gets warmer and vacation season gets underway, travelers in the region may find higher prices when filling up at the pump. Gas prices across the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia have increased 30 cents over the past month, according to AAA Mid-Atlantic.
However, several local governments, public school systems, transportation authorities, and water utilities, who participated in a Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG) cooperative contract won’t feel the impact of fluctuating prices as much. COG secured a cooperative contract for the purchase of gasoline fuel to save local jurisdictions money. The latest contract was executed in September 2014 for a total procurement value of $13 million.
Eighteen COG members participated in the contract, including the City of Alexandria, Fairfax County, the City of Falls Church, WMATA, Potomac & Rappahannock, Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, Maryland National Capital Park, Montgomery County, Montgomery County Public Schools, Montgomery College, City of Bowie, City of Greenbelt, Prince George’s County, Upper Occoquan Service, Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission, and Anne Arundel County Public Schools.
Through volume purchasing, the contract has saved participants time, resources, and millions of dollars annually. Members save money fueling their fleets of vehicles, such as school and Metro buses. Additionally through the contract, the price of gasoline is capped at a set maximum amount. Therefore, members always pay the lower amount: if gas prices are low, members pay market value, but if gas prices are high, members only pay up to the maximum.
The COG Cooperative Purchasing Program and Chief Purchasing Officers Committee (CPOC) initiated the effort and Montgomery County led the procurement of the original contract more than 10 years ago. Before each bid, members are invited to participate in the contract and submit their estimated annual gasoline expense. After the information is collected from all participants, the contract is submitted to bidders from gasoline companies at an online auction. The next bid will be May 2017.
Through CPOC, COG will continue to identify common goods and commodities to buy in bulk or to pursue through a cooperative contract.