cancel
Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 
Jeff_a_Caldwell
Senior Contributor

Boosting fuel efficiency

I just saw some information on fuel efficiency. $4 diesel is no fun, and I'm trying to highlight all the ways folks can save a gallon or 2 here and there wherever they can. 

 

So, I need your help: Besides the usual stuff like trying to limit the number of trips through the field, keeping tires inflated properly and things like that, do you do anything in particular in an effort to save fuel on your farm? 

0 Kudos
11 Replies
Nebrfarmr
Veteran Advisor

Re: Boosting fuel efficiency

Here is a blurb from an article in a local paper, where people are doing some experimenting, with great promise:

 

For about $15,000, a customer gets the engine, a new fuel tank and an ethanol contract. Hanson said an engine runs about 1,000 hours during a normal irrigation season. At a savings of $8 per hour over diesel, an ethanol-fueled engine would pay for itself in about two years.Engines also are being tested in the Garden City, Kan., area. Engines there operate more frequently and for longer amounts of time, resulting in a shorter pay-back period, he said. 

 

 

 

Read the whole article here:

http://www.kearneyhub.com/news/local/article_968f5b1c-642f-5f1f-ac0a-d74b97cee094.html

 

 

These guys are experimenting with retro-fits to existing diesel engines (at far less cost) which is supposed to save a bunch on fuel costs as well.  Somewhere, I read that the mix of fuels somehow causes the engine to burn less fuel than one buring either straight Diesel, or straight Ethanol, but can't find it right now.  Regardless, it is supposed to show pretty significant fuel savings.

 

http://magissues.farmprogress.com/NEF/NF07Jul09/nef018.pdf

 

 

 

Personally, I am too far away from the 'research' areas, to participate in the experiments (believe it or not, it requires a special waiver from the EPA, in order to use a cleaner-burning fuel than the engine was originally certified for) but am waiting the results, and certifications, to see if it would be viable.  Irrigation engines are a good place to experiment, as they run at a more or less constant speed and load, for long periods at a time.  On a long dry stretch, one may shut off only long enough to change oil, every 200 or 250 hours.

 

However, that doesn't mean I'm doing nothing.  My wife has a flex-fuel viechle, and we are experimenting with different levels of ethanol, since we now have a blender pump locally.  It seems that we get about the same mileage with everything from straight no-lead up to e-30.  E-85 drops the mileage a bit, but before we got the blender pump, we found that if we re-fueled at half a tank, and filled with e-10 one time, and e-85 the next, our mileage would be within a half MPG as going all e-10.  With e-85 currently at 3.06 and e-85 at 3.89, it is a no-brainer to do that.

I even have a neighbor that is running an old 400 Farmall on e-85, and another an old 2-banger JD.  The JD works much better on e-85, because it has the dual fuel tanks, and can start it on gas, and then switch over to e-85, which he puts in the 'tractor fuel' tank.  Granted, they are mostly parade tractors now, but these guys like to tinker, and have gotten it to work for them.

 

0 Kudos
Kay/NC
Honored Advisor

Re: Boosting fuel efficiency

This is weird enough to qualify as "different"...I haev mentioned it before on this site, but maybe not this board.  It is not "on the farm" per se, but the farm send sme ot town once or twice a week at minimum, and this is where the tip pays off:

 

Make only right turns.

 

I actually list my errands in right-turn-only order, and follow it pretty religiously.  There will, if course, be one left turn at the furthest point outlying in my route.  That is usually one that allows me to use a traffic light to exit a parking pot of side street. 

 

This saves a great deal of time idling, waiting for a left turn light, or for all lanes to clear, so I can make one without a light.  Time idling is wasted fuel. 

 

UPS actually uses this strategy, which I learned several years after adopting it myself.

 

We also plan pretty carefully to make backhauls count every time we can.  Tath may soudn like a"given", but a lot of people forget to plan it in. 

 

I am using electronics as much as possible, and paying for delivery more than in the past.  When the post office ia a gallon of gas away round trip, minimum, doing as much as possible with services that drop inside the office door, especially when companies are widely offering free shipping now, is a good savings. 

 

One of our sheep supply companies ships free if you order online only...look for deals like that.  Our office supply company delivers overnight, to our door, free for $50 or more order...one set of printer cartridges covers that. 

 

0 Kudos
chipster22
Veteran Contributor

Re: Boosting fuel efficiency

Mythbusters did a segment on the right hand only theory.  It did save gas for their delivery truck but took a bit longer to run the route.

 

http://dsc.discovery.com/videos/mythbusters-right-turn-only-minimyth.html

 

At the end though they implied that it might not make as much difference with a smaller vehicle.

0 Kudos
Kay/NC
Honored Advisor

Re: Boosting fuel efficiency

On the rare occasion when I might break the  right-turn rule, say in an unknown part of the city, it takes forever to make the trip/  Another ecample is having to stop at a point on the route that is out of my normal sequence, as when I dropped Mike at the chiropractor today, and then ran for a few groceries.  The left turns that ensued were LONG waits.

 

Even if it's only a psychological difference, it matteres to me.  Perception is reality.

0 Kudos
k-289
Senior Advisor

Re: Boosting fuel efficiency

Lots of great tips here already--- having first hand experience with class 8 commercial vehicles a  "" lite "" right foot will give a fair amount of savings which is proven time and again with the larger companies " throttling back " gives excellant returns---

0 Kudos
Jim Meade / Iowa City
Senior Advisor

Re: Boosting fuel efficiency

Don't idle.  When your truck or tractor or combine is sitting, shut it off.  Buy an engine heater if necessary.  In Germany, there is a law that is very well respected that says you don't idle.  As I recall, it was more than 30 seconds.  People shut the car off waiting for a train to cross.  You get some very dirty looks if you don't conform.

I don't believe for a minute these new light bulbs save anything.  They cost too much and burn out too quickly.  Having said that, with motion detectors we could probably get rid of lots of "night lights" that you see in many farm yards. 

Use a higher gear and pull the throttle back is an easy way to save fuel.

Use the right size machine or motor for a job to avoid burning energy unnecessarily.

Use the right amount of weight in the right places so the tractor is set for best traction efficiency. 

0 Kudos
Nebrfarmr
Veteran Advisor

Re: Boosting fuel efficiency

Here is one most people don't think of:
Get rid of liquid ballast, and use cast iron weights.  Around here, tractors are 'do all' machines, from tillage to cultivating, pulling a sprayer, and hay work.  If you do stop & go stuff like baling, you'd be surprised how much power it takes to get liquid ballast rolling, and stopped again. 

My brother used to have trouble with the clutch on his IH 986, the clutch went out twice in 10 years.  He asked the mechanic what to do to make the clutch last longer, and he said to get rid of the fluid in the tires.  He did, and has maybe 15 years on the clutch in it now, and it is still going.

0 Kudos
DanielS_19
Friend

Re: Boosting fuel efficiency

As gas prices rising, it is important to try to maximize your fuel economy. Saving gas is one way of saving money. Fuel prices traditionally go up in the spring time, but it is only March and the nation's pump figures are at near-record highs. It sure makes it tough for a driving fanatic to enjoy feeling the asphalt rushing underneath his or her feet. Still, it is clear that modifications have to be made in support of gas mileage. But there are approaches to be smart, save fuel and still get some time behind the steering wheel. Find more tips here: How to save green at the gas pump: Part 1.

0 Kudos
tree fmr
Advisor

Re: Boosting fuel efficiency

Going less than 1 mile, walk.  Going less than 5 miles, ride a bicycle.  Takes a little extra time but also gives you time to think and keeps the ticker in shape.  An extra 15 minutes now and then to add years to the end of your life, it is worth it in my opinion.

0 Kudos