As a trucker, you know that time is money, but the amount of fuel you go through over the course of a trip is also a big financial consideration. Ideally, you're spending as little time at truck stops and other fueling stations as possible so you can keep navigating the nation's highways and byways.
The best way to do that? Operate your big rig so that you're maximizing fuel efficiency. We have some tips to help:
1) Keep it tuned up
The best way to keep your truck running great is to get it serviced regularly, and preferably at the end of any long trip, according to Knight Transportation. That not only helps it stay on the road, it ensures fuel efficiency remains at a high level.
2) Don't carry more weight than is recommended
Obviously, trucks have to work hard when they're weighed down with excess freight, Knight Transportation cautioned. While you will need to be fully loaded more often than not, you should also keep in mind what your truck is rated to handle and aim for that weight limit.
3) Keep your tires properly inflated
When tires start to run flat, they make more contact with the road, increasing drag, Knight Transportation said. Likewise, over-inflated tires are bouncier and more likely to blow out. As such, you should follow manufacturer recommendations and regularly check your pressure.
4) Don't drive too fast
The fast your big rig is going, the harder your engine is working and, therefore, the more fuel you consume, according to TEC Equipment. Aim for the 55-to-65 mile-per-hour range on your speedometer when you're on wide-open highways and you'll be in good shape.
5) Avoid accelerating too hard
Another situation where your engine works overtime comes when you jam on the gas, TEC Equipment recommended. It's just not a good idea and, frankly, probably won't get you going all that much faster than if you eased into acceleration.
6) Stop idling
This one should be obvious, but leaving your engine running is really only a great way to consume more fuel — whether you're in a tractor trailer or a family sedan, TEC Equipment noted. This is a habit truckers would be wise to drop as soon as possible.
7) Keep shifting to a minimum
When you change gears ,it does tend to use a bit more diesel, and you certainly don't have to cycle through every gear unless the RPMs are getting up there, according to Driving Tests. Skipping gears with block shifting is definitely something you should master.
8) Find ways to reduce resistance
Tractor trailers are big and boxy, so they're not exactly aerodynamic by design — but you can make some changes to reduce wind resistance, Driving Tests advised. Add-ons for your truck can cost quite a bit, but this is the kind of investment that often pays for itself over time.
9) Don't accelerate when moving downhill
Finally, truckers should know to lay off the gas when they're traveling downhill; a big rig's momentum is usually enough to keep you traveling at a solid speed, Driving Tests further noted. Of course, the opposite is true when going uphill — your engine has to work that much harder — so downhill driving is definitely the time to coast.
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