Truckers likely spend a lot on fuel every month, and whether you're an owner-operator responsible for some (or all) of these costs or a company overseeing a fleet of big rigs, those expenses can add up quickly. The obvious solution, then, is to find more ways to increase fuel efficiency and otherwise make sure these trucks get the most out of every gallon.
The following tips should help reduce fuel consumption on an ongoing basis:
1) Stop idling
All too many truckers leave their vehicles running when they don't need to, and the amount of fuel the practice wastes by doing it for five minutes here and 10 minutes there can be difficult to quantify, according to Trucker.com. However, there's little doubt that, over time, all those brief instances of idling combine to burn far more fuel than is reasonable. If you burn a little less than a gallon of fuel per hour of idling, even five hours over the course of a month costs a decent amount of money.
2) Cut down on drag
Big, boxy tractor trailers aren't exactly designed to be aerodynamic, but some estimates show that as much as 20% of fuel use comes from the need to overcome wind resistance, Trucker.com advised. For that reason, installing additions to your cab or the side of a trailer that cuts down on drag could end up being the kind of investment that pays for itself many times over.
3) Get more training
Industry experts agree that experienced, well-trained drivers use far less fuel than those who aren't experts at knowing how to operate their vehicles as efficiently as possible, according to Fleet Owner. For that reason, training to ensure drivers know all the best tips and tricks for running more efficiently will end up being a cost-effective way to reduce fuel consumption and make sure drivers get the knowledge they need to succeed.
4) Don't speed
While going faster than the posted speed limit on the highway certainly can save some time, the added cost in both fuel consumption and safety means it should be considered a no-no, Fleet Owner said. Data suggests that a tractor trailer going 75 miles per hour uses about 20% more fuel than one going 55. As a result, pro drivers should always strive to take it a little bit slower.
5) Get regular maintenance
Just like any other vehicle, when tractor trailers don't get regular maintenance and servicing, they tend to see a slow decline in fuel efficiency, according to Interstate Motor Carriers. For that reason, it can be good to get a tune-up somewhat regularly, so that there's nothing under the hood that's wasting more fuel than you may realize.
6) Choose better routes
Finally, if drivers or dispatchers can do a little more work to find the best possible routes for deliveries, the fuel savings can really add up, Interstate Motor Carriers cautioned. Avoiding one rush hour's worth of traffic around a big city per trip, or saving 50-plus miles en route to a destination, can have a massive positive effect on your bottom line.
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