Thursday, August 15, 2019

A Farrago of Fueling Frivolity

I suspect that some of you are ready to hear about something other than tent revival. We are having a great revival and we are praising God for his help each night for us, Pastor Alan Harris, the church and for Central City.

There will be plenty of time for tent revival pictures tomorrow, so let us spend today talking about something else that is fun, like living life on the road.

A Farrago of Fueling Frivolity
A big part of anyone's life on the road is fuel. Whether your transportation requires, gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, propane, electricity or some combination, it takes some kind of energy producing fuel to make things move down the road.

With fuel being a huge part of road life, it follows that fuel is also one of the biggest expenses of road life. A favorite topic of anyone on the road is the price of oil, gas and diesel. They are always looking for ways to go more miles on a gallon, drive fewer miles or cut the costs per gallon.

Obviously getting better MPG and driving fewer miles is not working out well for us. The bus gets about 8 1/2 MPG pulling the Green Machine and about 5 1/2 MPH pulling the trailer. There is not much you can do to change that. Plus we run the generator many, many hours each year at a miserly fuel sipping rate of about 1/2 gallon per hour.

As for total miles driven, we have pretty much stayed at the same average total miles for the last 11 years. This year maybe 2000 miles above average and next year maybe 2000 miles below average. There is not much chance of significantly reducing miles without staying in one place all the time. Ain't nobody got time for that!

The last option, cutting the cost per gallon, causes people to go into all kinds of contortions to save a few cents on each gallon. You do your best to buy fuel in low tax states and to somehow fill the tank to overflowing and a few gas cans so you can tanker through high tax states like California, Illinois, Indiana, now Ohio, plus a few others.

We have found a way for us to cut fuel expenses recently and I sure hope this option lasts a long time.

In the first seven months of this year, we have used 2464 gallons of diesel in the BoggsMobile. 2464 gallons of diesel. 

In our years of pulling a fifth-wheel camper with a truck, a fuel stop was part of almost every travel day. I planned my fuel stops back then at about 400 miles or less apart. We almost dreaded stopping for fuel. While I was pumping fuel, looking things over and cleaning the windshield, Kelly Jo would unfold Odie from the back seat of the truck, get her in the wheelchair and go in search of a handicap equipped bathroom that was not closed.

It was always a big ordeal!

The BoggsMobile made that a whole lot easier. I was usually the only one that had to exit the bus, but I still had to go inside, wait in line, leave cash or a credit card, go outside and pump the fuel, go back inside, wait in line again, cash out and get the receipt. That is the way the truck islands work.

Either way, with the truck and trailer or with the bus, we were spending 35-45 minutes at every fuel stop. However, the bus needs fuel much less often. A 208 gallon tank helped a bunch with that.

Since about 2013 or so, I have used a fuel card from a Prevost forum I belong to online. They negotiated a fuel card that allows us to swipe the card at the truck islands, pump the diesel and leave without waiting in line inside. It is linked directly to a checking account that I set up specifically for diesel costs and nothing else.

With the fuel card, the trips inside were eliminated, time was saved and the money was drafted out of my account the next day. I also get an email record of the whole transaction, gallons, cost per gallon, total costs and location. The card simplified things a lot. Plus, the card gave me a 10 cent per gallon discount at Love's Truck islands.

The card did require an annual fee of $25, but two fill-ups with the Love's discount covered that and the convenience of not going inside TWICE each stop would have been worth the $25 a year anyway.

Recently the Prevost forum presented an opportunity to obtain another, better, fuel card. This one has no annual fee, is still swipe and go at the pump AND offers a much better discount at Love's and a lesser discount at some of the other brands.

I used it for the first time on Friday morning. The discount price must be based on some type of index and it varies every day. They send a private email to the cardholders each day with discount price at every Love's, Pilot/Flying J and TA truckstop. 

The card company makes its money by charging 10% of the savings off the top. It seems like a good deal for us and them.

They do not want us to publish the prices and I understand that. I will say this. I put a lot of fuel in the tank last Friday morning at the Love's near Elizabeth, Ky. I saved $90 off the street price. $90 in real American money! With my old card, I would have saved $16. That is a huge difference!

We are excited about this going forward. Look back at the fuel I have purchased so far this year. The daily savings will vary, but the 2464 gallons purchased with this new discount fuel card would have cost $1000-$1400 LESS than I paid to this point in 2019! Hallelujah!

I am willing to take my blessings from God any way I can get them. Spending less money, $2000++ less each year is a serious blessing.

We absolutely know that God provides for us out here on the road. We are careful when we spend, we are faithful to give and we are thankful when God helps us to do both a little better! This is a huge help!

Thank you for stopping by today. We only have two more nights of tent revival in Central City. We would love for you to join us if you can.

Davy  1995 1996 Prevost XL Detroit 60 Series

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