As a trucker, you’ll spend a lot of time and money at the pump filling up on diesel fuel. This means that owner-operators, contractors, and carriers everywhere focus on ways to increase their diesel fuel economy.
Even if you aren’t paying for the fuel to get you to your destination and back, that price comes back to affect your paycheck one way or another. Even if you only improve your fuel economy by a single mile-per-gallon, you can potentially save thousands of dollars.
In order to help truck drivers maximize their profitability each trip, here are seven excellent tips to improve your diesel fuel economy.
1. Keep Track of Speed and RPMs
The faster you’re going, the worse your diesel fuel economy will be. Both wind resistance and drag pile up on trucks as your speed increases. In fact, you can burn upwards of 25 percent more fuel speeding up from 65 to 75 mph. And remember, the higher your RPMs, the more fuel you’ll burn. Try to never exceed 1500 RPM and keep the needle somewhere between 1250 and 1350 PM to be safe and efficient.
2. Fill Up When It’s Cooler Out
It’s not just an urban myth. Since fuel expands with rising temperatures, this means you’ll get more fuel for every dollar the colder it is. Filling up before the sun has had the time to slow-cook the world (or well into the night after it’s cooled down) means fuel volume will be lower – so make sure to schedule your refueling times around these hours!
3. Don’t Leave Her Idling
This one’s the most obvious on the list, but it bears a mention. Your truck simply doesn’t burn fuel when it’s not turned on, so there’s no reason to keep it idling when you aren’t moving. Any time you can turn the engine off is time you aren’t burning fuel – plus, you’re giving it a needed break. You can also avoid crystallization of Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF) on your fuel injectors, so it’s a win-win.
4. Keep Her Tuned Up
Preventative maintenance is more important for truckers than just about any other driver on the road. While a sedan driver may merely have an hour of their day interrupted, you stand to ruin your fuel economy by breaking down. Keep your oil quality, batteries, connections, air filters, and all the other inner workings of your rig in top shape at all times.
5. Stay in the Right Gear
Whether you’re on flat highway, steep mountain grades, or simply taking off, it’s critical to adhere to proper shifting. The key here is to keep track of your RPMs – it’s all too easy to reach unnecessarily high RPMs and wreck your diesel fuel economy during any of these moments. The fewer RPMs you see, the less fuel you’re burning.
6. Maintain Tire Inflation
No one likes driving on an underinflated tire. Not only is it a safety risk – it can also severely increase your fuel consumption. The lower the psi of your tires, the lower your mpg will be, so keep them properly inflated at all times. Plus, they’ll last longer on average and save you money in the long run. Remember: temperature fluctuations along with every day wear and tear can affect your tire pressure, so check them as often as you can.
7. Plan More Efficiently
Novice truck drivers don’t realize the impact of a properly planned trip on their diesel fuel economy. At first you may think it’s all about knowing exactly where you’re going, but the journey is just as important as the destination. Be sure to look ahead at weather conditions, the best (cheapest) spots to refuel, and the times of day you’ll need to stop to avoid long wait times. Want more trucking industry tips, news, and tools to increase your operational efficiency? Keep reading the Axele blog and explore the rest our website. Contact us today to get in touch with a member of our team!