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What are you going to drive when gas is $5 gallon??

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by Mistel, Feb 19, 2005.

  1. Mistel

    Mistel Member
    Messages: 48

    I have been reading a lot on the net about "Peak Oil" or "Hubbert's Curve" and I think it looks pretty scary. You could read here http://www.lifeaftertheoilcrash.net/ . I really think that the current high gas prices are here to stay, and how high they will go, the skys the limit. Think about it, we are already having "resource wars". So what I want to do is prepare for it. I not talking about crazy things like hoarding food or building a fallout shelter, but I do think it is time to get a smaller truck. I plow a few lots that the family owns so I still need a snow plow. Right now I have a 2004 Chev 2500 Ext Cab 6L gas (for sale if anyones interested !) and it is just to expensive to fill-up (I'm in Canada, we pay more for gas here). I also have a small car that I drive whenever I can. What I want to do is just get one all purpose vehicle that can plow only a few small lots.

    So my question is, what is the most fuel efficient vehicle you can get, new or used, that you can put a small plow on. The smaller the better, I'm thinking like a LADA Niva, 4cyl stick, 98 HP. What do they use in Europe where fuel is already over $5 gallon??
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2005
  2. Dwan

    Dwan Senior Member
    Messages: 879

    If I was concerned about the cost of fuel I would switch back to using my bobcats for plowing. (2 gal per hour). I own 4 of them and have access to 2 more real cheep. it cost me more in tire ware then fuel for them. As for now fuel price is a concern to help curv I have made 2 of my plows more productive by switcghing to Boss V blades. (Blizzard blades are not an option here yet).
    My fuel bill last month was $2800.00 and I don't expect it to get any less as long as I am working. But the return on it was over 3000%.
    Fuel price goes up and that is a fact of life, along with it so does my price. Fuel today is still cheeper then it was 35 years ago if you include the cost of inflation.
  3. Mdirrigation

    Mdirrigation Senior Member
    Messages: 413

    If fuel coes up so does my price , its that simple . As does the price of plastics , transportion , electricity etc. The person that has to be more concerned it the 9 to 5 employee who makes the same every week , he cant raise his salary .
  4. Mick

    Mick PlowSite.com Veteran
    from Maine
    Messages: 5,546

    I would agree, fuel cost is just not that major of a concern. Mainly cause it gets passed along with rate increases. Also, fuel accounts for approx 5% of revenue. What do you think people said about 30 years ago, when the price of gas about tripled? But here we are, still pushing snow. Just charging more for it.

    If the concern is an engine to get the best fuel economy, I'd suggest going bigger, not smaller. A smaller engine will work harder under load than a larger engine with more horsepower pushing the same load. You'll also have less engine wear. Under no-load, highway driving, my Dodge with 318 will out-perform my Chevy 3500 with 6.5 TD. But when it comes to pushing snow, it's a totally different story.
  5. johntwist

    johntwist Senior Member
    Messages: 415

    I'm with Mick on this one. What you have to look at here is not the cost of fuel now or later, it's the presence of snow and the need for it to be removed. As long as that remains a constant, then prices for the service will reflect the costs to operate. I don't think it's going to stop snowing during the winter anytime soon, so I'd say it's a given folks will have to continue to pay for it to be made to go away.
    Getting a smaller plow vehicle is a choice I'd make not based on the price of fuel, but on the type and amount of plowing I do. You may be robbing Peter to pay Paul if you make the wrong decision there because what you trade for fuel economy you may lose in efficiency. There are certain physical limitations in this business that simply cannot be ignored, gas prices be damned. If I were you I'd think that one over long and hard before going out and trying to run a business with a Snowbear on a Yugo.
  6. Dwan

    Dwan Senior Member
    Messages: 879

    and as we all know robing Petter to pay Paul only makes Petter sore and we can't do business with a sore petter.
  7. Mistel

    Mistel Member
    Messages: 48


    I'm not sure if you intended it, but the last line of your post was really funny. Yes, I agree with you that there are certain limitations on size, thats really what I am asking, how small can you go? I only do my very short driveway and 2 lots that are part of the family business(rental properties). They are only about 10 and 8 car lots. Why don't I just contract it out? I have looked into it and with the quotes I got it makes sense to me to just own the plow and do it myself. Thats my job anyway, taking care of the property. Plowing gives me something to do in the winter!
    What I have to plow is so small, I wouldn't care if I had to do it twice everytime.
  8. b2driver

    b2driver Member
    from MD
    Messages: 89

    Why do people complain about paying 2 bucks for a gallon of gas, and not complain about 1.20 for 16 ounces of a soft drink, or 3.50 or so for a gallon of milk? Do the math. You're getting shafted per unit on the other items.
  9. MickiRig1

    MickiRig1 PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,617

    It's not going to help much to go smaller. I had a Bronco II with a 2.9 Auto and at best it got 15-16 MPG. It broke axle parts and trip springs all the time. Factor in the down time and parts it did not save much being smaller and lighter. It also took longer to do the same amount of area.

    They just need to come up with an alternative fuel that uses the current fuel delivery infer-structure and vehicle designs, till we can come up with something renewable and long lasting (in time)!

    Once OPEC's oil is gone,all they have is sand,We got plenty of our own sand!
    You need food? Pay us our money back!
  10. AintNoFun

    AintNoFun Senior Member
    Messages: 175

    i hate it, but i love going to the pump to fill one of my trucks up and it cost $55 to fill the tank... makes me feel like a real wasteful american and we live in the greatest country in the world... lol...
  11. andrewlawnrangr

    andrewlawnrangr Senior Member
    Messages: 339

    same as aintnofun 55 bucks to fill..... and 5 bucks to get into a college party ..... soon i am goin to be riding my bike everywhere...

    sporry for the post i am wasted............................ :drinkup: :drinkup:

  12. LHlandscaping

    LHlandscaping Junior Member
    Messages: 21

    $55 seems like a fill up on a metro now. Diesel prices make me angry, well over $2.20 per gallon here for quite some time. I'm going to start burning home heating oil.
  13. IndySnowPlow

    IndySnowPlow Senior Member
    from Indiana
    Messages: 214

    Our business cost are (like any other business) passed on to the customer.

    Maybe I can pull a couple plugwires off and save some fuel ?? :eek:
  14. Ken1zk

    Ken1zk Senior Member
    Messages: 192

    I would say you would do well with a light duty truck like an s-10, ranger, or a rice burner. This year I fitted a plow on an old 95 Nissan pickup that I use in my summer business. I currently have 21 resi customers and 2 small 16 or so space lots. When I compare costs, the Nissan is far more fuel efficient thus profitable then my 3/4 ton Suburban. Once I grow the business to include more commercial properties, larger lots, then the story will most like be different and the Suburban will become the vehicle of choice for me to operate for maximum profit.
  15. Turfmower

    Turfmower Senior Member
    Messages: 376

    Don't, you don't want to pay the fine if you caught with Red in you tank. Also #2 heating oil dont have any of the any gels or aditives in it.
  16. Mistel

    Mistel Member
    Messages: 48


    Thanks for the reply, thats the kind of info I am looking for. As for milk being $3.50 gallon, I don't use 20 gallons a week like my truck does
    I went to Italy last summer and rented a Ford Galaxy. It was similar in size to a Cavaran, seated 7, 4 cyl, stick, diesel and got 42 MPG, where the Caravan gets 18 MPG. It did 80 MPH no problem. What I want is a truck like that. I have looked on the internet and I can't find any example of what they use in Europe as snowplows. I mean what is equal to our ford, dodge, chev, not a huge commercial plow.
  17. REAPER

    REAPER 2000 Club Member
    from 60050
    Messages: 2,230

    Will drive whatever everyone else is. Like someone above said. It ain't gonna stop snowing just because gas is 5 bucks a gal.
  18. SnoFarmer

    SnoFarmer PlowSite Fanatic
    from N,E. MN
    Messages: 9,883

    A team of draft horses..... :drinkup:
  19. itsgottobegreen

    itsgottobegreen PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,351

    UNIMOG. Thats all they used over there.
  20. jpunlimited

    jpunlimited Senior Member
    Messages: 132


    liquid natural gas. I have a fork lift and runs on propane. it is about $2 per gallon. but lasts. I would look into this. they have the kits for the jeep I drive.