With spring and summer just around the corner, people are starting to feel the dollar pinch from the many expenses spring brings at the farm — horse shoeing, colostrum and milk replacer, supplements, fertilizers and more. The additional costs to running a production agriculture business don’t stop there. Looking ahead, it is time to start making your travel plans for upcoming rodeos, summer county fairs, horse shows, FFA farm sales and auctions.
My daughter and I are currently gearing up for the upcoming 2009 Miss National Federation of Professional Bullrider's Pageant in St. Joseph, Mo., in April. While assessing the cost of contest entry fees, new clothes and a seemingly endless collection of hair styling products, perhaps the one thing that we can influence the most is cutting down on our gas cost. Here are 10 great gas saving tips that will help you and your family survive the spring dollar pinch and plan for your travels.

10 Great Gas Saving Tips
1.    Change your oil regularly. Dirty engine oil makes the engine work harder.
2.    If you are not driving a diesel, avoid idling for more than a minute. It takes less fuel to restart your vehicle than to idle longer than a minute.
3.    Watch your speed. Traveling at 65 mph instead of 55 mph can use up to 17 percent more fuel.
4.    Keep your tires properly inflated. Under-inflated tires will shorten the life of your tires and reduce your mileage by up to 4 percent for every 5 pounds of under inflation.
5.    Keep your car tuned up. Two bad spark plugs can increase your gas consumption by 20 percent.
6.    How are your filters? Dirty filters will burn up 10 percent more fuel.
7.    Don't purchase higher-octane gas than what your car requires.
8.    Avoid wind drag. Driving with open windows burns more fuel. Use your air vents instead.
9.    Go easy on the air conditioning. It increases fuel consumption by up to 15 percent.
10.    Travel with a friend or another family — share the expense.
The more that you can put these tips into effect, the easier it will be to save money on your upcoming trips.
Mary Catherine Harcourt is with Credit Counseling of Arkansas, Inc.


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