Fuel is the largest operating expense in the trucking industry. A typical commercial truck will use 20,500 gallons of fuel and can easily consume more than $70,000 of diesel fuel per year.
With diesel prices on the rise and no major price drops forecasted, its imperative to maximize efficiencies and keep fuel costs to a minimum. If you’re a truck driver or fleet owner, you’re probably looking for every opportunity to save on fuel. Below, we give you the top 10 ways to improve your fuel economy:
1. Bypass weigh stations and toll booths. Use services like Prepass to avoid having to stop and accelerate, which burns extra fuel.
2. Utilize a fuel card. By using fuel cards, you can get discounts on diesel gas at many truck stops, which add up to considerable savings.
3. Try aluminum wheels. Since aluminum is much lighter that steel, aluminum wheels can help increase your fuel economy.
4. Cover wheel hubs. Wheel hub manufacturers estimate a savings of 1.5-3% in fuel when all outside wheels have the devices.
5. Plan around traffic problems using route-planning software or GPS. Using route-planning software like Copilot Live Truck allows you to find the quickest way to get to your destination.
6. Use smartphone apps to plan your fuel stops. There are several apps that give you real-time information for the cheapest fuel stops in your current location.
7. Minimize air conditioning use. Your in-cabin air conditioner can eat up a good amount of fuel. Try using a battery-powered cooling device, or if you’re driving a reefer, utilize the unit’s power capacity for climate-control devices.
8. Adjust the 5th wheel. Make sure there’s a 30-inch gap between the truck-trailer. Every 10 inches above that increases drag by 2 percent.
9. Lower average highway speed. Every mph over 55 equals a 0.1 mpg drop in fuel economy.
10. Maintain proper tire pressure. Always check your tires before hitting the road to ensure your tires are at the optimal PSI. Not only are underinflated tires at risk for blowouts, it can also considerably decrease fuel economy.
Sources: The Trucker’s Report, Commercial Carrier Journal