When you spend your life on the road as a truck driver, fuel stops and their associated costs will quickly begin to add up. As time goes on, you’ll likely start to wonder if there’s more you can do to preserve fuel and keep your truck on the road longer while lowering costs.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), idling burns up to 1.5 gallons per hour. It’s easy to justify some level of idling. 5 minutes here, 10 minutes there, no big deal. Unfortunately, those numbers can add up—even over the course of just a single day.
Some ways to reduce idling include, but are not limited to, turning off the engine during stops and deliveries, turning off the heat or A/C when they aren’t needed, charging your phone while you’re driving, and reducing the time your engine is spent idling to warm up the vehicle.
The easiest way to reduce fuel usage is to slow down. According to the American Trucking Association (ATA), a truck going 75 mph uses 27% more fuel than one going 65 mph—it’s a big difference!
Slowing down isn’t just beneficial for fuel efficiency, either. It’s also a lot safer for the truck driver and everyone else on the road. When you’re on a schedule, taking your time can feel like a detriment to your job. However, reducing your speed can save you fuel and require fewer stops at gas stations over the course of your delivery route. It also helps you prevent an accident or being stopped and receiving a speeding ticket. Avoiding time-consuming scenarios makes it easier for drivers to reduce their speed and still make their deliveries on time.
When planning your delivery route, make it efficient. The more efficient the route, the better the fuel efficiency. This doesn’t just mean going with whatever route has the fewest traveled miles. It’s critical to plan for expected issues, such as trying to navigate your way through a major city during rush hour. These can significantly slow you down and vastly increase your idling time. Problems like these are best avoided because they cost you precious time and fuel. Plan your routes carefully to minimize the risk of serious slowdowns.
Utilizing aerodynamic options for your truck is another good way to preserve fuel. Trailer skirts are one of the most common truck additions that are used by almost every company because they reduce drag by up to 7%. If you don’t have them on your truck, now is the time to invest. You can also add trailer tails, or “boat tails,” and wheel covers or AeroKits to reduce drag even further. For a simple trick that doesn’t require any kind of add-on, simply reduce the space between your truck and trailer as much as you safely can. The smaller the gap, the more aerodynamic the truck will be.
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