February 24th, 2008

Fuel Strategies — How to Shoot More, Spend Less

Many match directors have told us that, in the past 18 months, match attendance is down, particularly at regional and national events which require long drives. The main reason is fuel cost. With the price of gasoline soaring above $3.00/gallon, many shooters have decided to cut costs by attending fewer matches, or sticking to competitions closer to home.

While not traveling to a distant match will certainly save on gas (not to mention hotel bills etc.), we’d think there’s a compromise solution. We’ve observed that 95% of competitors at matches arrive solo — one to a vehicle. And, typically, most shooters drive big pick-up trucks or SUVs that may get less than 20 mpg on the freeway.

PROPOSAL: Car Pool to your next shooting match, and/or drive a vehicle with better mileage.

Whenever possible, this editor tries to “share my ride” with other shooters attending a match. I also drive an 8-year-old station wagon that gets an honest 29 mpg on the highway. Though it’s cheap to run, my vehicle has plenty of space for all the guns and gear 2 or 3 shooters would ever need.

Here is a chart showing how much you can save by carpooling and by driving a vehicle with better mileage. If you drive 5000 miles a year to shooting matches, a car getting 27 mpg will burn $349 less fuel than a vehicle getting 17 mpg. And even if you stick with your 17 mpg truck or SUV, ride-sharing with one other shooter can save you over $470 per year (if you drive 5000 miles to matches).

MPG Miles Driven Fuel Cost
@ $3.20/gallon
Ride-Share Savings
27 mpg 3000 $355.56 $177.79
22 mpg 3000 $436.36 $218.18
17 mpg 3000 $564.70 $282.35
27 mpg 5000 $592.59 $296.30
22 mpg 5000 $727.27 $363.64
17 mpg 5000 $941.18 $470.59

Subaru 4WD Outback Wagon — 26 MPG on Highway
If you want to replace an older, gas-guzzling vehicle, check out the Subaru Outback. We’ve tested one and came away very impressed. It’s roomy inside and has good ground clearance outside. It has a 5-Star crash rating and gets 26 MPG on the highway. Base models start at under $22K.

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