“We are conscious of all savings ideas these days,” he said. “We are focused on more conference calls and, when we travel, we try to drive instead of flying.”
Eleven round trips were made from Knoxville to Chattanooga in fiscal year 2008 and 33 round trips were made between Knoxville and Nashville, said Sylvia Davis, vice president for strategic planning and operations at UT.
With gasoline for cars hovering below $3 a gallon in the Southeast, Dr. Petersen’s assigned vehicle, a 2006 Chrysler 300, could make the round trip to Nashville for $38, a savings compared to the hundreds of dollars spent on fuel for a 40-minute plane ride to Nashville, according to AAA fuel calculations.
However, Ms. Davis said using the plane, which seats nine, instead of a car saves busy administrators hours on the road. A trip to Nashville and back takes six hours out of the day and would prevent officials such as Dr. Petersen from attending to university business, she said.
“The people who use the plane have hectic schedules,” Ms. Davis said. “It is a matter of convenience and accessibility.”