Farmers therefore can plan a number of ways to save money on fuel, even if prices do remain stable in 2013, since fuel comprises a significant portion of the farm budget. Spring planting and fall harvest represent times when diesel fuel demand is high, so planning around those times and considering buying in bulk ahead of time can reduce costs.

“December, January, February — times when there’s much smaller demand — is usually, but not always, a better time to buy fuel for price reasons,” Fuller says.

A farmer’s crop production methods can directly affect how much fuel is used overall, especially tillage practices (see Breaking down the fuel budget).

“Farmers can cut down on diesel costs by adopting no-till or lower-till,” says Bruce Babcock, economics professor at Iowa State University.

Other methods to save on fuel prices on the farm include regular engine tuneups, maintaining properly inflated tires on each piece of equipment and avoiding aggressive driving of machinery.