But so far this year - the department is on pacing to be spot on - or even under-budget. KEPR looked at the changes that have made that happen.
It's a strain you feel with the regular routine. Every driver we talked to readily agreed.
That strain is also felt for local law enforcement. Even so -- the Benton County Sheriff's Department is pacing to be spot-on -- or even under-budget for its fuel budget. When gas prices spiked, the agency quickly blew through its last budget. County leaders doled out half-a-million more this time.
But that's not just keeping Sheriff's Department on track. A new crime analyst also provides better direction for deputies to concentrate their resources on trouble spots.
"We can save resources by knowing where to put these guys," said Benton County Sheriff Steve Keane.
Benton County spends the most on gas of any law enforcement agency in the Tri-Cities. It's deputies cover more than 17-hundred square miles. We looked at all the agencies and it's no surprise each one spent more on gas in 2012 -- compared to the year before. Officials say it's a necessary cost....but one that needs to be used carefully.
"If you know when and where things are going to occur, you're not just driving around aimlessly looking for something," said Sheriff Keane.
The challenge to keep you safe....all the while working to stay efficient on your dime.
The Benton County Sheriff's department uses about 54-hundred gallons in a month.