If you’re familiar with the trucking industry, you know efficiency is key! Since fuel can easily be used inefficiently, better fuel consumption is generally top of mind for truck drivers. Whether you’re an Owner/Operator looking to pinch a few pennies or a big rig driver wanting to learn more ways to save, you’ve come to the right place. No one wants to spend more at the pump, and fortunately there are steps you can take to reduce fuel costs. Check out these trucking fuel-saving tips from Smith Transport:
Watch Your Speed – Not only is speeding is dangerous and a huge no-no, it’s also a large reason for increased fuel consumption. Higher speed requires more horsepower, which in turn requires more fuel. Experts agree that every mile per hour driven over 60 mph reduces fuel economy by one-tenth of a mile per gallon.
Even though time is of the essence in the trucking industry and it’s important to deliver the transported goods in a timely manner, speeding is not the solution–planning ahead is the answer! The typical argument against driving slower is that you can make better time by driving faster. But this is not the case.
Take a look at the comparison chart (below) that shows one driver running at 70 mph and another running at 60 mph. In this example, Driver A is ten miles farther down the road than driver B, but has also spent $5.60 more to go those ten miles in roughly the same amount of time. While $5.60 doesn’t seem like a lot of money to most people, consider over time what this adds to up be. As a truck driver constantly on the highway, this can result in a large amount of unnecessary extra money.
The takeaway? Speed costs you time. Slow down, be safe, and save fuel.
In addition to slowing down, there are other ways to make fuel go farther by paying attention to your equipment. Your truck has to overcome three things: rolling resistance, air resistance, and gravity. Fortunately, your driving technique can address each of these and control the potential for wasted fuel.
Perform regular maintenance such as overheads.
Limit idle time. Idling requires about a gallon of fuel per hour. When possible, don’t let your truck idle. Tip: bring an extra blanket for when it’s cold outside and window screens for when the weather is warm will help limit idling time, too.
Check the tire air pressure in all 18 tires to reduce rolling resistance. Air them up at least weekly to the manufacturer’s specifications. There’s no need to pay the extra cost of pulling a trailer with under inflated tires.
Slower acceleration consumes less fuel. This is especially important running on hills or in the mountains because it helps reduce the effects of gravity. Rapid acceleration gets you an extra few seconds, but creates premature wear on the engine, driveline and tires, along with driving up your fuel costs.
Slower de-acceleration (slowing and braking) is recommended because precious fuel is converted to wasted energy with hard braking. When the brakes are used a lot or used hard, much of the fuel you need to get up to speed is wasted when the brakes are applied.
Truck drivers: Fuel is controllable — you just need to know the important tips and tricks to control fuel consumption on the road (which now you do!) You’ll be glad when you notice the difference of improved fuel economy.
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