The Energy Information Administration (EIA) forecasts that the average monthly motor gasoline prices will increase by nearly 40 cents per gallon from February ($2.28 per gallon) through June, peaking at $2.67 per gallon. Although the projected average high for the upcoming driving season (April-September) will be about 20 cents per gallon less than last year's driving season average, the rising prices will still place additional strain on budgets.
Rising crude oil prices and seasonal demand are the principal drivers for this expected increase.
With the energy market on the increase, USRider urges horse owners to take a multi-faceted approach to conserve energy and to lower their overall fuel costs while traveling with their horses.
You can improve your fuel economy--as well as your safety and the safety of your horses--by following these simple tips:
• Drive more efficiently.
• Keep your vehicle properly tuned.
• Plan and combine trips.
• Choose a more efficient vehicle.
USRider offers these suggestions for conserving fuel while traveling. These tips work for most vehicles:
• Keep Engine Properly Tuned--Depending upon the kind of repair done, this can result in an average 4% increase in fuel efficiency. Replacing a faulty oxygen sensor can improve fuel mileage as much as 40%.
• Check and Replace Air Filter--Replacing a clogged air filter can improve your vehicle's mileage up to 10%.
• Keep Tires Properly Inflated--Proper inflation can increase mileage by around 3%. An added benefit is that properly inflated tires are safer and last longer.
• Use the Recommended Grade of Motor Oil--Using the incorrect weight can increase fuel consumption by 1-2%. Look for motor oil that says "Energy Conserving" on the API performance symbol to be sure it contains friction-reducing additives.
• Drive Sensibly--Aggressive driving can lower your fuel mileage by one-third. Sensible driving is also safer for your horse(s).
• Observe the Speed Limit--The Department of Energy says that each 5 mph you drive over 60 mph is like paying an additional $0.21 for each gallon of fuel. An added benefit is that observing the speed limit is also safer for your horse(s).
• Avoid Excessive Idling.
• Use Cruise Control--Using cruise control (where applicable) helps you maintain a constant speed and, in most cases, will save fuel. Do not use cruise control if you are tired or fatigued. In fact, if you are tired or fatigued, you shouldn't be trailering horses.
• Use Overdrive Gears--When your engine speed goes down, your mileage goes up. An added benefit is that using overdrive gears reduces engine wear.
Additional fuel economy tips are posted on www.fueleconomy.gov. This site also has links to local fuel prices and information about promotions.
For more information about USRider and more equine trailer safety tips, visit the USRider Web site at www.usrider.org, or call 800/844-1409.