Banner Churchill Community Hospital’s Emergency Medical Service, or EMS, is doubling its gas mileage and is on its way to saving up to $9,000 per year thanks to the newest ambulance in its fleet.
This summer, EMS hit the road saving lives and saving fuel with a new Mercedes Benz Sprinter ambulance. The new emergency vehicle is smaller than the current Freightliner ambulances EMS currently uses, but it gets much better gas mileage — 18 to 19 miles to the gallon with a 6-cylinder diesel engine, versus 9.25 mpg which the Freightliners are getting.
“It’s not about the fact that it’s a Mercedes Benz,” said Banner Churchill Emergency Medical Services Senior Manager Dave Lane. “But rather it’s about the reputation behind them – the reliability, the durability and the less-expensive maintenance costs.”
Banner Churchill Community Hospital Chief Nursing Officer Rob Carnahan said over the life of the ambulance, which is about six years, the hospital can save more than $50,000 on fuel alone.
The ambulance crew transports patients to Reno and will use this smaller, more efficient vehicle for those trips.
“Because we make those road trips, we can take advantage of the better fuel economy,” Carnahan said. “We wanted to have that tool in our belt.”
More urban areas are turning to the smaller ambulances because they also maneuver better in traffic.
Carrying the famous three-pointed Mercedes Benz star logo on the front might make people think big bucks, but Carnahan said that isn’t the case. Buying this vehicle actually cost less than purchasing another full-size ambulance - $90,000 for the new Mercedes Benz ambulance versus $225,000 for one of the Freightliner ambulances.
Now that the new Sprinter ambulance has been fully licensed and has been in operation, Banner Churchill’s emergency responders now have four ambulances currently in use.