Everyone wants ways to save fuel, but horse trailer towing vehicles can consume a lot of gas. Here are some tips on ways to save fuel that will help you manage the cost of your equestrian travel.
Maintain your horse trailer towing vehicle. Work with a professional mechanic to keep your towing rig in top shape and keep your engine properly tuned. Replace regular maintenance items such as air filters and spark plugs. Repairs can go a long way; replacing a faulty oxygen sensor can improve fuel mileage as much as 40 percent.
Check tires regularly. Check tire pressure regularly to maintain optimum air pressure, and have the wheels aligned regularly to prevent tires from dragging. These two factors can improve mileage by around 3 percent. Properly inflated tires are safer and last longer.
Keep track of your fuel economy. A drop in your towing vehicle’s fuel economy can be a sign that your vehicle needs work. Regularly check and replace air filters; replacing a clogged air filter can improve a vehicle’s fuel mileage by as much as 10 percent.
Use the recommended grade of motor oil. Check your vehicle’s owner’s manual to see what grade of motor oil you can use. A grade that’s lower or higher than necessary can lower your fuel mileage. Also, look for motor oil that says Energy Conserving on the API performance symbol to be sure it contains friction-reducing additives.
Plan your route in advance. Find the shortest, easiest route to enhance your mileage. Avoid heavy traffic by taking alternate routes and by traveling at non-peak hours.
Drive gently. Avoid aggressive driving, and observe the speed limit. Fuel mileage decreases rapidly at speeds above 60 miles per hour. Each 5 mph you drive over 60 mph can translate to an additional 10 cents per gallon.
Stop with care. When stopping, take your foot off the accelerator and coast, then gently brake to a stop. When you see a red light, slow down to give it time to turn green, so you don’t have to come to a complete stop. Starting a rig from a dead stop eats fuel. Don’t make jackrabbit starts; it wastes fuel and it is hard on your horse.
Avoid excessive idling. Idling gets zero miles per gallon. Vehicles with large engines (pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles) typically waste more fuel at idle than vehicles with small engines.
Use cruise control. Cruise control will help you maintain a constant speed and, in most cases, will save fuel. Caveat: Don’t use cruise control if you’re tired or fatigued. In fact, if you’re impaired in any way, you shouldn’t be hauling horses!
Use overdrive gears. Overdrive typically causes the engine speed to decrease. This saves fuel and reduces engine wear.
Use high gears. High gears achieve the lowest engine RPMs, or how many times the engine will rotate in one minute. This will generate adequate power to maintain road speed while hauling a load.
Get the “junk out of the trunk”. Remove unnecessary weight from your towing vehicle and trailer.
Double up. Ask a buddy (or buddies) to trailer pool with you, and split the fuel cost.
Park in the shade. Keep your truck as cool as possible in the summer to minimize fuel evaporation.
Stay cool, keep the A/C on. The aerodynamic drag caused by keeping the windows open uses fuel. Unless you’re driving at slow speeds, rolling down the windows costs as much as, if not more than, turning on the air conditioning.