Tennessee taxpayers will soon see the benefits of a new project that will dramatically reduce the costs for marking Tennessee Highway Patrol cruisers.
The Tennessee Department of General Services, which manages State-owned motor vehicles through its Motor Vehicle Management division, and the Department of Safety and Homeland Security, which includes the Tennessee Highway Patrol, have collaborated on the new effort in which the distinctive black-and-cream color scheme for patrol vehicles is applied with adhesive vinyl instead of paint.
The cost savings are projected to be at least $1,910 on each marked THP vehicle, said Bob Williams, assistant commissioner for vehicles and asset management.
"This is money that can be used for vital programs and services for all Tennesseans rather than on administrative costs of government," Williams said.
"After some research and discussion with General Services, we decided to go ahead with the project," said Col. Tracy Trott of the Tennessee Highway Patrol.
"With the savings of wrapping the cars, General Services is planning to replace THP cruisers sooner. This is so important as we try to lower our vehicle trade-in mileage and serve the public with new and safe equipment for our troopers. This partnership has been extremely successful and cost efficient," Trott said.
Adhesive vinyl has for years been used to place advertisements and logos on motor vehicles. More recently, advances in technology have allowed whole-car wraps to begin replace painting for entire cars.
Williams said his division began investigating the cost of wraps for THP since its vehicles make up about 25% of the State's entire motor fleet and offered significant opportunity for cost savings.
Tennessee purchases its THP vehicles in black, and in the past has applied the cream paint to create a two-tone color scheme at a cost of $2,300 per vehicle.
When a vehicle reaches the end of its service life, the THP markings are covered by painting the entire vehicle white, at an additional cost of $350, before the vehicle is sold as surplus property.
Williams said the cost of a vinyl wrap is $740, a savings of $1,910 over the cost of painting and repainting a THP cruiser. With the state purchasing 150 new cruisers this year, that will create a savings of $286,500 in the first year alone.
In addition, Williams said, because the vehicles will wear a protective vinyl coat throughout their use by the THP, when the wraps are removed, the black paint underneath will be in much better condition - likely increasing the vehicles' resale value.