When long-haul truckers are paid by the mile, or by time, they may be tempted to drive faster or stay out on the road longer, to earn more money. However, there is a downside to doing so which you may not have considered. That downside comes in the form of fuel efficiency and ultimately higher fuel costs. As the operator of the truck, you have to figure out when the cost outweighs the reward and when it doesn’t. The American Automobile Association offers great tips for saving fuel for regular passenger vehicles, but many of those tips can be applied directly to commercial trucks also.
Diesel prices have been on the rise and, depending on how much fuel your truck can hold, a full tank of diesel can cost $1,000 or more. With fuel being one of the largest costs associated with operating a truck it makes sense that you would want to use your fuel as efficiently as possible. We will review what we feel are some of the best ways to improve your miles per gallon (MPG).
New technology is constantly emerging with ways to increase fuel efficiency, so it is a good idea to have the best technology you can afford on your truck. Make sure your vehicle is well maintained and services are completed regularly according to the manufacturer’s suggested service intervals. A well-maintained truck runs more efficiently, saves fuel, and also prolongs the life of the vehicle.
Resistance factors (tires, wheel alignment, and weight)
Anytime your truck is in motion it is encountering a number of different resistance factors working against it and taking away fuel efficiency. This includes tire rolling resistance, air resistance, and even gravity! Always make sure your tires are properly inflated according to the specifications from the tire or vehicle manufacturer. If you observe uneven wear on your tires it could be due to underinflation or misalignment. Weight is also a big factor to consider. Make sure you are not carrying anything you don’t actually need. The more weight your truck has to move, the harder it will have to work, and the more fuel it will consume.
One of the best ways to improve your MPG is to avoid excessive speed. Of course, there are speed limits, but there are also lonely stretches of highway where no one is looking and you may be tempted to put the hammer down. The best fuel economy is typically achieved around 55 mph, but this could vary among different makes and models.
Of all the things you could do to improve fuel economy, improving how you operate the truck will have the largest impact on fuel economy. Accelerate at a reasonable speed, don’t feel like you have to floor it every time you start up. Keep your RPMs low and stay in the highest gear possible as long as possible. Use cruise control when you can to maintain smooth and consistent operation of the engine.
Many diesel truck drivers let their engines run while parked. This is a big waste of fuel in most cases. Unless there is some reason to do so, turn the engine off as often as possible. If you are going to be stopped for more than 10 minutes, for instance, it is probably better to shut it down to save fuel.
You can make your vehicle more fuel efficient and your own driving habits have a great impact on your overall fuel economy. With fuel being one of the largest costs for a truck driver these days it is important to find ways to minimize that cost and keep more than money in your wallet.
Looking for a truck driving job? Consider working with Knight Transportation . Knight Transportation has locations across the United States and has emerged as an active industry recruiter for a wide range of good-paying positions and also offers truck driver training. Call Knight Transportation at (888) 456-4448 to get started.