Refueling your tractor trailer can be costly - and not just in terms of how much you have to pay for a couple tanks' worth of diesel. Depending on your route, it can take a lot of time to track down a gas station or it can lead you to lose time when you pull into a rest area during periods of heavy traffic. The best way to avoid these problems? Become more fuel-efficient in everything you do.
Here are a few tips that will help you achieve such a goal:
1) Make your truck more aerodynamic
One of the best ways to get more miles out of every gallon of diesel is to reduce the drag on your truck, according to Trucking Info. Experts say adding a cap to your cab that makes a smoother transition from its height to the size of your trailer can reduce drag by as much as 15%, and thus it's an investment that pays for itself over time. Another great way to reduce drag? Clean your truck more often.
2) Don't idle the engine
Among the biggest mistakes many drivers make is running their engines while they're sitting in parking lots or rest areas, Trucking Info noted. There's rarely a good reason to do this and it wastes more fuel than you might even realize, so it's generally a good idea to just shut off the engine, even if you're only stopping for five minutes or so.
3) Take it easy on the pedals
A major way drivers of just about any vehicle reduce fuel economy is by accelerating and braking hard rather than easing pressure onto the pedals, according to Driving Tests. Braking hard means the engine was working hard right up until it didn't need to, and accelerating hard means you ask the engine to put in a lot of work over a short distance, and both of these hurt efficiency. Likewise, these practices really increase the wear and tear on your truck overall.
4) Get better at anticipating traffic changes
Along similar lines to braking and accelerating more gently, it's also a good idea to look farther down the road in front of you when making those decisions, Driving Tests added. You may see a big curve coming up, or a set of traffic lights, that allow you to take your foot off the gas for a few seconds before you start braking. It's a little change that can add up to a lot of added efficiency over the course of a few hundred miles.
5) Use cruise control when you can
While it's not always advisable to use cruise control, if there's relatively little traffic around you and the road in front of you is mostly straight, it's a great way to increase efficiency, according to Fleet Owner. As a seasoned trucker, you should use your best judgment on what, exactly, would be the ideal conditions to utilize it, but it can be a powerful weapon in your efficiency arsenal.
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