With the average fuel efficiency for trucks reaching 6.5 miles per gallon, any advice to mitigate fuel expenses can greatly help in the long run. Small changes to habits and investments on your fleet can lead to substantial savings. Here are 6 tips to saving money on fuel.
- Avoid Quick Acceleration and Hard Braking
Speeding isn’t the only bad habit that decreases your fuel efficiency. Other aspects of aggressive driving like rapid acceleration and hard braking disrupts your truck’s fuel economy, in a severe way. According to the Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, aggressive driving can lower your gas mileage by 15%-30% at highway speeds, costing $0.20-$0.80 per gallon of fuel.
Braking technique also affects your truck’s fuel economy. If you drive faster, the chances increase of having to do a hard brake to avoid a collision on the road. After a hard brake, accelerating will take more power and fuel to gain momentum again.
Practice giving yourself enough distance between you and the vehicle in front of you. This gives you more time to brake and accelerate. More time means that it’ll be a smoother and more gradual transition in speed and ensures safety for everyone on the road.
- Don’t leave your truck idling!
The worst fuel economy that a vehicle can get is zero miles per gallon, but that is exactly what happens when a vehicle is left idling for too long. If you’re going to leave your engine running for more than 10 seconds, it would be wise to turn it off completely. Those 10 seconds of idling wastes more fuel than restarting the engine altogether, and it can waste up to $650 a year.
The main reason why engines are left to idle is to keep them warm. Not only does idling create more air pollution, it can also lead to increased costs in maintenance and engine rebuilding. The way to address this concern and save money on fuel and maintenance is to ease into driving.
- Get Two Separate Tanks for Refrigerated Loads
If your business is involved in food transportation, there is a solution to make tracking fuel expenses easier and cheaper: Equip your truck with two separate tanks, one for the engine and the other for the trailer. This way, you don’t have to keep your truck running and waste fuel.
This way, you leave out the tedious math work of figuring out how much diesel was used for the engine and the A/C unit! This helps with expenses in the long run because the fuel used to power the A/C unit is tax-exempt!
- Put a Tarp over your Load!
Put a tarp over your load if you’re a flatbed driver! Not only do they secure your load to be safer in transit and protect against the elements, tarps smooth out the shape of your load, making it more aerodynamic. Making something more aerodynamic translates to taking less power and fuel to travel through the air.
There are different types of tarps on the market that boast various fuel savings. Mechanical tarp systems advertise saving on fuel expenses by 15% while simpler poly tarps save about 7-8% on fuel.
- Narrow the Gap between the Tractor and Trailer
Another tip is to make your truck glide through the air by narrowing the gap between the tractor and trailer. A study was conducted by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and found that the US saved $21 billion per year on fuel because of improved aerodynamics of the truck’s build. Adding modifications to close that gap reduces air resistance by 6% and boasts 2% fuel savings.
This may seem like a few dollars now, but these savings stack up to hundreds to even thousands of dollars of savings while on the road.
- Add a Trailer Skirt!
Among the add-ons drivers can utilize to save money on fuel are trailer skirts. According to the North American Council for Freight Efficiency, nearly 30% of trailers are equipped with trailer skirts today, which in turn offer 1%-5% in fuel savings versus trailers not equipped with trailer skirts.
Adding on these skirts do a lot; it extends the trailer side walls closer to the ground, preventing wind from ducking in under the trailer and running into the bogie. The state-of-art skirts have an estimated payback period of 7-14 months, so making it a worthwhile investment for years to come!