There are plenty of reasons truckers should always strive to keep their tractor trailers' fuel consumption as efficient as possible. Apart from the environmental impact, there's also the fact that stopping to fuel up takes up valuable time and in some cases, the cost might come out of their own pockets. With that in mind, it's important to know all the best ways to keep fuel consumption as streamlined as possible.
The following tips should help you cut your fuel use as you drive all of the nation's highways and byways:
1) Keep your tires properly inflated
When tires are over- or under-inflated, their relationship to the road fundamentally changes, and impacts your vehicle's fuel consumption, according to U.S. Cargo Control. When your tires are running a little flat, they make more contact with the road and increase drag. When they're overinflated, they may bounce more and actually lose contact with the road, potentially spinning more. Keep them inflated to the manufacturer-recommended levels.
2) Don't idle your truck
This should be an obvious one, but it's a habit all too many truckers fall into, U.S. Cargo Control added. When you leave your truck running, it unnecessarily consumes fuel, so doing it less (or not at all) is a great way to improve.
3) Keep your speed down
Not that you should be exceeding the speed limit when you're behind the wheel of a big rig in the first place, but avoiding the habit is also good for your fuel efficiency, U.S. Cargo Control further noted. It's generally recommended that you stay between 55 and 60 miles per hour to remain in a high gear and keep your engine from working too hard.
4) Fill up well before you're close to empty
As a general rule, the fuller a fuel tank is, the more efficiently your truck will consume all that diesel, according to The Truckers Report. Obviously you can't keep it topped off forever, but stopping to fuel up again when you're at a quarter tank or so instead of letting it get too close to empty can help you run more efficiently.
5) Don't jam on the pedals
As mentioned, avoiding speeding is a great way to improve efficiency, but there's another component to what it takes to "win the race" — being steady behind the wheel, The Truckers Report said. That means you shouldn't accelerate too hard or brake too hard, because it forces your engine to do more work than it really should.
6) Invest in add-ons that make your truck more aerodynamic
We've all seen the tractor trailers loaded up with extensions and add-ons that make them more aerodynamic, and wondered whether all that stuff is really "worth it." The answer is a 100% yes, according to Smart Trucking. Another 5% of fuel efficiency here and 10% there can really add up, making this an investment that pays for itself quickly.
7) Get a feel for your truck
Finally, no one knows trucks better than you do, so you understand that not all of them handle or drive the same, Smart Trucking advised. Going by feel, you can get an understanding of how each one runs best, and you should always strive for that balance.
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