USRider Urges Horse Owners to Maximize Fuel Economy
RELEASE: June 10, 2008
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: By USRider
The use of heavy-duty vehicles to transport horses consumes more energy than most passenger cars. However, horse owners can take several steps to maximize their fuel economy.
“Horse owners can do their part to reduce their fuel consumption with practical travel tips that actually work,” said Mark Cole, managing member for USRider.
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.
Through its Equestrian Motor Plan, USRider offers nationwide roadside assistance especially for equestrians. The plan includes standard features such as flat-tire repair, battery assistance and lockout services, plus towing up to 100 miles and roadside repairs for tow vehicles and trailers with horses, emergency stabling, veterinary and farrier referrals, and more.
USRider offers several suggestions for conserving fuel while traveling. These tips work for most vehicles.
A key to maximizing fuel efficiency is to maintain your tow vehicles. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for regular maintenance.
• Keep engine properly tuned. Depending upon the kind of repair done, this can result in an average 4 percent increase in fuel efficiency. Repairing a serious maintenance problem, such as a faulty oxygen sensor, can improve fuel mileage as much as 40%.
• Check and replace air filter. The air filter keeps impurities from damaging the inside of your engine. 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 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.
Additionally, altering your driving habits will help save fuel:
• Drive sensibly. Aggressive driving such as speeding and rapid acceleration and braking, can lower your fuel mileage by one-third. Sensible driving is also safer for you and your horse(s).
• Observe the speed limit. Gas mileage usually decreases significantly at speeds above 60 mpg. The Department of Energy says that each 5 mph you drive over 60 mph is like paying an additional $0.20 for each gallon of fuel. Driving the speed limit has the added benefit of increasing safety.
• Avoid excessive idling. Idling gets 0 miles per gallon. Cars with larger engines typically waste more gas idling than do cars with smaller engines.
• Use cruise control. Using this feature (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 you use overdrive gearing, your vehicle’s engine speed decreases, which increases your mileage. An added benefit is that using overdrive gears reduces engine wear.
• Lighten the load. Remove unnecessary weight from the vehicle. According to the Department of Energy, an extra 100 pounds in your vehicle could reduce your MPG by up to 2%. Excess weight affects smaller vehicles more than larger ones.
• Do not use the tow vehicle as a passenger car. When not towing, drive a smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicle.
If your tow vehicle is an older model, consider purchasing a new tow vehicle. New vehicles have more power but use less fuel. Another item worth considering is to switch from a tow vehicle that uses gasoline to one that uses diesel, as current diesel technology is more fuel efficient.
Cole cautions against purchasing any of the fuel-saving gi