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What have you done to cope with high energy costs?

Post in 'The Green Room' started by sylvestermcmonkey, May 30, 2008.

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  1. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    I had an old triple carb Jaguar that used the 3d carb for cold start enrichment.

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  2. fossil

    fossil Accidental Moderator Staff Member

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    Bend, OR
    Never heard of that one either. Not precisely related, but I know of builders of retro hot rods, where they want to show off an old flathead or something with 6 2-barrel carburetors or whatever sitting on top, who only hook up one or two of them, the rest are non-functional. Not building a race car, and the fuel consumption would otherwise be pretty ridiculous. Rick
  3. struggle

    struggle Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2006
    Messages:
    727
    Loc:
    NW Iowa
    This spring I sold our 33' 5th wheels camper

    Then an hour later sold 2004.5 Dodge diesel ($160 plus to fill up)

    Bought a 5'x10' utility trailer to pull behind the minivan to haul wood. (gets 22.4 mpg avg.)

    Two years ago when fuel prices started edging upward I bought a new 05 Dodge Neon 5spd and now it is looking like a better investment then ever. It gets close to 40 mpg on the open flat road. Avg 34-36 daily driven light on the pedal.

    Getting ride of the camper and truck is saving a some coin. No camper truck registration. NO insurance on both. No starage fees on camper. Not spending $4.70 a gallon on fuel. No more maintaining the truck or camper. No washing them saves a lot of time for other things I would rather do.

    I felt very lucky to get rid of the camper and selling the truck was just icing on the cake for what the fuel cost. These vehicles were paid for and a loss was taken of course over initial new cost but so is just about everything like this that we buy.

    We will tent camp a few times this summer as a family. Less cost invovled in that and we have had the tents and gear for some time.
  4. WoodMann

    WoodMann Minister of Fire

    Joined:
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    Loc:
    New Mexico
    I applaud you Struggle, for thowing all your excesses into the sea............................
  5. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

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    S.NH- Mass's smoking section
    I tried putting my shih tzus on a treadmill to run the TV, but the lazy bahstids just lay down.
  6. sylvestermcmonkey

    sylvestermcmonkey Member

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    Loc:
    The Land that Time Forgot
    Well, based on the responses to date, I'm thinking high energy costs haven't been much of a burden to most of us after all. It seems most of the responses have addressed reduction of energy costs per se, but I get the impression most of us haven't suffered a reduction of their standard of living to cope with it. This surprises me.

    If this is true I surmise most of us still have plenty of discretionary income, despite record high energy costs. Have I misinterpreted something?
  7. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

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    Well being on "hearth.com"- you know that most are already looking at reducing home heating costs. I can only speak for my house- without bragging- we make a good income and don't think THAT much about it. The wife drives for work (sales), so that's a hit, but otherwise it's not something that's changed our behavior. This fuel cost is felt in food and othe rproducts- people with little or no disposable income will feel it first.
  8. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

    Joined:
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    9,125
    Loc:
    base of Mt. Rainier on the wet side, WA
    I agree. Oil prices have not made a difference in my family's quality of life yet. If the cost of gas going from 3.20 last year to 4.25 today is enough to break you then you are probably not on this site. Our big ticket expense (mortgage) are fixed and the fuel cost is a relatively small potatoe. The bigger issue I see is employment security which is beyond my control on a daily basis.
  9. WoodMann

    WoodMann Minister of Fire

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    Loc:
    New Mexico
    Guess the next question is; how bad will it get, really....................
  10. sylvestermcmonkey

    sylvestermcmonkey Member

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    Spoken like true elitists!
  11. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

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    Having some money and not complaining doesn't make you an elitist. Having money and complaining about costs while others are really suffering would make me a whiner. :)

    Being honest- I'm still doing OK (you asked- did you want a lie?). If I denied that anyone should have a problem with cost- then I'd be an elitist
  12. Stevebass4

    Stevebass4 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2006
    Messages:
    845
    Loc:
    Franklin MA
    let's see
    installed a new HE oil furnace 85% used 300 gallons last year and 700 gallons the year before

    installed an insert the year before

    buying logs and processing it into firewood myself

    insulated the attic and walls

    new doors on the house

    biggest thing is learning how to coupon.. sure it's not as manly as cutting up trees with my Husky 272xp BUT the money i save is crazy. Figure close to 5k last year between cvs, walgreens, stop and shop and shaws. there are forums that tell you exactly how to do it and i must have about two years worth of a stock pile in the basement

    next

    new windows and new siding on the house next year and figure out a way to install a LARGE wood stove in the basement next year
  13. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Western Mass.
    Adios, don't you know everyone wants to be lied to????

    I agree with your definition of elitist....if there even is one.

    Basically, we can separate 95% + of people into two categories:
    Those who have money or think they have enough
    Those who want to be in the first group, but are not.

    Luckily for our society, many very rich folks are giving back loads of their $$ to those less fortunate. Although I am not among the "very rich", I am certainly at comfortable and above....which is why I rarely, if ever, complain about taxes or programs which help others.

    Of course, I - along with every other saver and earner in this country - am now worth less (in theory) every day.

    But, since lying is so in vogue, let me try this one - "Hearth.com is broke and unable to provide services - please help us now by sending money".......

    ;-P
  14. Kankujoe

    Kankujoe Member

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2008
    Messages:
    20
    Loc:
    West Central Missouri
    One of the main things I've been doing is researching forums like this one. Great information!!!!

    Heating fuel (propane) costs bit me in the butt pretty good this past winter so I'm looking for an alternative. Since I basically live in the woods (60 acres of mostly timber) I thought that I should start using firewood instead of giving away truckloads of the stuff. I built my home about 13.5 years ago with R19 in the walls (2x6) and R38 in the attic (1 1/2 story home), used Weathershield & Pella windows throughout, and have what are supposed to be high efficiency furnace (Lenox) and HWH (AO Smith) but I really don't want to spend 2.5-3K (current cost) per year for propane. I'm also going to be adding a radiant barrier to my attic rafters and will be installing an attic fan and more venting. I'm trying to reduce both heating and cooling.

    Both me and the Mrs. drive Jeep Grand Cherokees w/ 5.7L hemi's (so that is an ouch!) but they are too new (2005 & 2007) to sell w/o taking a several thousand dollar hit (the good thing is that they do get 17-22 mpg & most of our driving is highway). We also have a small Toyota Tacoma pickup for running around. We have modified driving habits (mostly 55-60 mph) which seems to irritate all the speed demons on the road. We plan our errands & shopping trips better and now factor in driving costs. All vehicles now have locking gas caps.

    The biggest hit to our lifestyle thus far is reducing our travel & eating out. Doing more camping, cycling and outdoor activities. We making major efforts to eliminate debt and put up some non-perishable supplies for any short-term crisis. I'd like to begin gardening but I fear all the critters will consume my efforts. With what I'm learning about woodburning boilers I may use one to heat both my home and a (future) greenhouse? I may add some livestock to the mix (I have the land but don't have the knowledge, yet).

    My biggest fear right now is the uncertainty of how people will react if/when they can't afford fuel or food. My kids are most likely in that boat (unprepared & maxed out). So many people are so used to having what they want (& right now) that I fear when they begin to suffer they will just try to take it from those they preceive have it!
  15. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2005
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    9,226
    Loc:
    Lake Wissota
    Anyone ever look into those "run your car on water" sites. I guess they are some kind of hydrogen cell car kit? 100 miles on 6oz of water? Why doesn't everyone have one?

    Things I've done to cope,
    Slowed down when driving, put nitrogen in tires, and car pool to save gas. The wife walks or rides a bike 2 miles to work. Cut down on those un needed trips for a loaf of bread or gallon of milk.

    Added insulation and updating windows to house. Scrounge all my firewood, don't buy any. Use solar lighting for living room and family room.

    Eating at home, not much going out anymore. Make my own beer and mead, but have been doing that for years.
  16. R&D Guy

    R&D Guy New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2007
    Messages:
    375
    I've really enjoyed this thread and I've walked away with a few good ideas from you guys.


    First few idea's I've implemented although as you'll see mine are almost all gas price related:

    - Topped off the air on all vehicles at or just under Max cold PSI.

    - Replaced car air filters.

    - Driving our little rice burner whenever possible.

    - Moving to drip coffee instead of Starbucks everyday.


    Things I plan on doing:

    - More research on "Hypermile" techniques.

    - Considering buying a ScanGaugeII for my 1/2 ton to validate Hypermile techniques.

    - Clean the coils on my fridge (hadn't thought of that one - thanks!).

    - Hang the wet clothes on a clothes line this summer.


    These are the easy ones I can do. I'll look for more ideas as this thread grows.
  17. pdboilermaker

    pdboilermaker New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2007
    Messages:
    140
    Loc:
    North Central Indiana, Kokomo
    1. Just this week parked h3 until winter now driving new SMART 4-2 to work savings about $200.00/month Savings pays for car. Had ordered car May 15th last year and it came in last week, now they are saying 18-24 month wait. (Maybe I'll profit take on EBAY like others are doing, $4000.00 profit could buy a lot of gas for my Hummer)
    2. 3 years ago bought Woodmaster 4400 to heat house and water saving about $2500/year when I bought it probably saving about $3000/year now
    3. Looking at wind turbines but pay off is about 9 years
    4. Have only cfls
    5. Added auto light switches where practical
    6. Changed to a cheaper brand of chewing tobacco saving about $10.00/week
    7. Using the cloths line rather than the dryer when possible
    8. Avoiding using the central air, open windows when possible saving about $500.00/year
    9. Raising my own calves 2 for the family to cover us a year saving about $600/year
    10. Started ordering water when we go out to eat unless coke is included in meal for the 6 of us it saves about $9.60 / meal
    11. Car pooling to kids baseball, fieldtrips, Scout functions etc.
  18. eba1225

    eba1225 Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2007
    Messages:
    312
    Loc:
    Chester Springs, Pa
    Well lets see,

    Added a layer of r19 to the attic bringing it up to r33,
    Installed my Lopi Insert in Sep.
    Scrounge wood,
    Drive only when needed,
    Planted a large garden with plants I started from seed,
    Built a Solar panel to heat the neighbors pool and then to use to provide addional heat in the basement,
    Install CFLs when incad's burn out,
    don't go out on the boat as much.

    Forgot one: Dumped the phone Company (Verizon)[$30/mo] and went with Majic Jack [$20/yr].

    Erik
  19. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    I need to get me a neighbor like that.
  20. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    May 20, 2008
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    Loc:
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    My house stays so much cooler by opening all windows at night, then shutting them during the day. Having several large shade trees around really helps in summer as well as winter (they act as a wind break). If I ever wanted to do solar, I'd need to take the trees down- so there's a big tradeoff.
  21. modemgirl

    modemgirl New Member

    Joined:
    May 31, 2008
    Messages:
    42
    Loc:
    Southern MA
    WOW you all have been really cutting back! Lets see, what have I been doing to cope with the energy cost? I drive slower, coast on hills, only run my AC when coasting down hills. I'm thinking about getting one of those 3 wheel bicycles with a big basket on the front with an electric motor so I can use it for my grocery shopping and errands. :) I encourage my family to use the pool for bathing instead of taking showers. I groom my dogs myself when I can catch them. I let the dogs lick the dishes to save on using the dishwasher :) I wash my car at the gas station with the window washer (figure I should get something extra for my $85.00 fill up). I make sure I do my grocery shopping on the days they give out free samples so I can get a free lunch. :) I'm having a staycation (stay at home vacation)for the fourth of July. I buy all my families clothes at the dollar store, heck I buy everything at the dollar store! I never need to get my nails done anymore, I bite them from worry! I even save on clipping the dogs nails cuz I bite them too lol

    Just thought we all needed a little humor and laughter, laughing is good for the soul and it doesn't take oil to fuel it, so it's FREE :)
    Krissy
  22. TMonter

    TMonter Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2007
    Messages:
    1,469
    Loc:
    Hayden, ID
    Just replaced the water heater again after 2.5 years since it had a manufacturing defect and the tank started leaking. Should put me back to 25 therms of gas per month instead of 31 or so. A little bonus is the new heater is more efficient than the old one. 0.65 EF instead of 0.62 EF.

    Still the 75 Dollars in parts I added to clean up the install didn't make me very happy.

    I'll likely add more windows this year to the house and get rid of the old aluminum frames still left.
  23. sinnian

    sinnian Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    May 28, 2008
    Messages:
    896
    Loc:
    Limerick, Maine
    Traded in my wife's Jeep and bought a RAV4 = extra 10-11 miles per gallon (we live a mile in on a dirt road, i.e. need the 4/AWD).

    Added $3k worth of insulation year and a half ago, so now everything is up to today's standards.

    Found a teaching job closer to home this year (8 miles versus 37 miles one-way).

    Bought my in-laws programmable thermostats and installed them.

    groan at my wife every time she leaves the tv AND lights on in every room!

    Ordered a Traeger PB 150 pellet boiler and 6 tons (so far) of pellets.

    Hang clothes outside to dry, when practical

    Use CFL lightbulbs

    Found this great sight!
  24. modemgirl

    modemgirl New Member

    Joined:
    May 31, 2008
    Messages:
    42
    Loc:
    Southern MA
    I have a 2003 GMC ENVOY, I NEVER owned a SUV before 2003, I only bought one because I felt unsafe with all the BIG trucks and SUV's on the road, I had a hard time seeing over and around them. I wish I would have kept my smaller sedan now. I can't afford to trade it in, I would lose too much $$$. My truck has a feature that lets you see the mpg you are getting while you drive. I have increased my average mileage from 17 mpg to 24.6 with my new driving habits. I just started changing my habits three weeks ago. My goal is to hit 30 mpg, not bad considering I am suppose to get 18 city and 21 highway. I drive half city and half highway. here's what I have done so far to increase my mileage.

    1. I don't idle for more then a minute or I turn off the engine
    2. I start out slow and use steady but lite pressure on the pedal at all times.
    3. I have slowed down to 60 mph on the highway when it's safe to do so.
    4. I coast on hills, (I have gotten up to 94 mpg when doing this)
    5. I don't use the AC unless It hits 85 degrees
    6. I DON'T use cruise control, I have found I don't get better mpg when coasting on hills.
    7. I time the lights when I can so I don't need to stop, if I see a light has turned red ahead I start coasting.
    8. I don't carry extra weight that is not needed.
    9. I check my tire pressure often to keep proper tire pressure.
    10. I will have my air filter changed at my next service.

    I will continue to look for more ways to save on gas for my SUV

    At $4.00 per gallon, driving 10,000 miles per year;

    If I average 30 mpg, I wll be saving roughly $1000. per year (saving 255 gallons of gas)
    If I average 25 mpg, I will be saving $752. (saving 188 gallons of gas)

    If anyone is interested and your auto doesn't have the feature to show you what you average and in real time
    they do have a gadget you just plug in, I don't know how much these cost.
  25. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Loc:
    Western Mass.
    BTW, modem,
    some of those actions may not increase your mileage....

    AC can be a wash, because when your windows are open (instead), that creates more drag.
    The air filter thing is pretty much a ruse.......that was from the "old" days of carbs and also engines that threw off a lot of mess

    The others seem good - although I think cruise control may be effective on relatively flat highways.

    I would like to get one of those plug-in MPG meters...just for fun. I am always light on the gas, etc. and it would be interesting to see what the result is. Lately, like you, I have started turning the car off instead of idling.....like at the bank drive-in window.

    Selling a car is usually not the right step for a number of reasons, the most obvious being that someone else will end up driving it...maybe worse than you do. Stretching the MPG as you are doing is much more effective. Heck, you would buy a Lexus Hybrid crossover and get worse mileage than you are getting now.
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