The days of cheap fuel are over and it looks like they won’t be coming back anytime soon. Reducing the amount of fuel your trucks burn every week is the only way to cut the costs of fueling up. Unfortunately, we can’t put wings on our trucks or lighten our loads so we have to look for some other common sense approaches to saving fuel.
Reduce Idle Time
Stop or reduce idle time
We’ve all left our rigs running when we stop off for some dinner or run into a store to stock up on some supplies for the trip ahead. Who wants to climb back into a steaming hot cab and have to wait for the AC to catch up? But every minute we leave the engine purring means that fuel and money are being wasted. An hour of idle time can burn up a gallon of diesel and that’s just money thrown out the window.
Remember that your IFTA fuel tax is based on average miles traveled per gallon of diesel consumed. If you are idling at a truck stop, that makes your average miles per gallon go down and your fuel tax go up. Not only is idling draining your wallet now, it’s also creating another big hit on your wallet at the end of the quarter.
Keep it at the Proper Speed
Engines are designed to run most efficiently at around 55-60 MPH. When you are
Driving at or below the speed limit saves fuel, wear and tear on your truck and saves on tickets!
traveling faster than this, more of your trucks energy is being used to simply overcome wind resistance. While barreling down the highway at 80 miles per hour might shave an hour off of your delivery time, it is also draining your tank and your wallet. Not only does reducing your speed drastically improve your average miles per gallon, it has the side benefit of reducing the number of traffic tickets you receive, reduces the wear and tear on your engine and makes your brakes and tires last a lot longer.
Take Care of your Tires
Next to the engine, the tires on your truck are probably the most critical component to look at when trying to save fuel. Tires that are neglected, under inflated, over inflated, worn out or the improper size can all have a dramatic effect on the amount of fuel you are using to haul your loads. Check your tires to make sure the tread and walls are in good shape. Check the air pressure and make sure that the tires are inflated to the manufacturer’s recommended level. Make sure you are using tires with the proper load rating for what you haul. Heavier tires burn more fuel so if you can use a lighter load rated tire it would be wise to do so.
Take Care of your Engine
Clean filters help save money
Your engine needs good lubrication, clean air, and fire to work properly. Oil changes and tune ups are cheap and they can keep your diesel usage down. If your oil gets dirty or starts to break down your engine has to work harder to just give you the same amount of energy as before. The same goes for air filters. If your engine can’t get enough oxygen then it will start to lose more and more power over time meaning that you will have to pump more fuel into the engine to get the same amount of pull as before.
A large part of the energy that your engine creates is used to push your vehicle through the air. The more resistance your truck has to air flow, the harder your engine has to push. Most modern trucks have already been designed to be as low on the wind resistance scale as possible, but older model trucks were not installed with many of today’s standard options. An air shield above the cab, rounded corners, and aerodynamic side mirrors are all things that you find on any new tractor but were not as common 20 years ago. Trailer fairings, a relatively new add-on, can reduce your fuel consumption by 6% or more by reducing the drag of the air flowing under the trailer.
Even if you have aerodynamic features already installed, make sure that they are still in good shape. Holes caused by age and road debris in the air shield above the cab for instance can greatly reduce its ability to let air flow smoothly around it. Inspect your aerodynamic features at least once a quarter to ensure proper air flow.
Save money on fuel and taxes
Outside of the actual equipment, fuel costs are one of the primary expenses a truck or fleet operator faces. Every gallon that is not burned on a haul is money in the pocket now and less taxes to pay out down the road, so using simple approaches to reduce fuel consumption is a smart choice. Make use of the five easy tips talked about here and keep the gauge on your tank and your wallet away from “E” as long as possible.
If you have any fuel saving ideas and suggestions please share.