How To: Save fuel in your daily operations
Labor is probably still your biggest expense, but fuel costs may be a close second. When nearly everything you do takes fuel and the price keeps going up, efficiency is the answer. The following tips may be reminders or new information. By incorporating as many into your operation as possible, you may be able to maintain your bottom line.
- Unload unnecessary items. If you won't use that fertilizer for another two weeks, leave it at the shop. Extra weight equals extra fuel expenditure.
- Load necessary items. Having to return to the shop wastes fuel and time. Most of us don't have that luxury. Make a mental list or write it down, load up the evening before and double check your load in the morning before you leave the shop.
- Buy only the octane level needed, as recommended by your owner's manual.
- Maintain proper tire air pressure (on mowers, too).
- Keep air filters clean and keep the oil changed. This applies to mowers and other equipment, too.
- Store items on trailers and in beds from the front to the back, keeping them as low as possible. Items sticking up or in the back create more drag on the vehicle and waste fuel.
- Gas engines don't need to “warm up” prior to driving. They actually warm up faster while driving than idling.
- If your vehicle has an overdrive gear, use it when you can. It helps the engine run more efficiently. Cruise control also helps fuel efficiency for highway driving.
- Gas-saving gadgets are not proven gas savers — most just make your pocket book lighter.
- Don't idle. If you are sitting longer than a minute, it is more efficient to turn off the vehicle and turn it back on than it is to idle.
- Drive the speed limit. Increased speed equals increased fuel usage.
- Don't tailgate. Those quick stops and starts use more fuel than moving at a more consistent pace.
- Reduce back-tracking. This technique may sometimes be helpful when you need that “finished” look or striping, but unless it's completely necessary, plan your mowing path for minimal overlaps.
- Ramp up the blade speed. Blades cut more efficiently at higher speeds.
- Keep the mower decks clean. You're probably already doing this, but you should know that the increased weight on top, no matter how minimal, wastes fuel and cluttered refuse underneath will increase the work the engine performs to turn the blades.
- Keep mower blades sharp. Freshly sharpened blades cut more efficiently and reduce the workload on the engine.
- Zero-turn radius mowers are more fuel efficient than other riding mowers.
- Consider installing new fuel lines. There are newer, non-permeable ones that do not allow gas to evaporate.
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