When you’re on a job as a trucker, getting to your destination on time is your key goal. One of the ways to achieve this more easily is to maximize your fuel efficiency as much as possible. By doing this, you get better mileage and reduce your need to stop for refueling, which can eat up precious minutes as well as money. There are several steps you can take to maximize your fuel efficiency and see the results, getting each job done faster and keeping more of each paycheck in your pocket and out of your gas tank.
Find Your Most Efficient RPM
Every engine has a standard revolutions per minute (RPM) range that is the most efficient for their engine. This range is typically between 1250 – 1350 RPM, but engines can vary. Checking your owner’s manual to find your engine’s sweet spot can help you determine where your RPM should be while driving in order to maximize your fuel efficiency and protect your engine from being overworked. If you’re using horsepower to haul big loads, you’re guzzling fuel and straining your engine unnecessarily.
Manage Your Gears
Those with years of experience driving trucks are pros at gear-shifting, but everyone is susceptible to the mistake of running up the RPMs before switching to a higher gear. Every time this happens, it costs a lot of excess fuel. Keep the engine’s sweet spot in mind when considering at what point it’s appropriate to shift gears, and make it a point to get into higher gears sooner to save fuel. According to American Truck Business Services (ATBS), driving fast in a low gear consumes about 45% more fuel than necessary.
Braking is an inevitability while you’re out on the road. Sometimes it needs to be done for stops at lights, rest stops, and weight stations. Other times you’ll have to brake to avoid an accident. However, there are ways to minimize your braking and make it a less frequent occurrence. Every time you brake, you create a situation where you’ll have to accelerate to get back up to speed—this consumes more gas than maintaining a steady speed. To brake less, keep more distance between your truck and the cars in front of you, and lane plan carefully for the smoothest ride possible so that you can change lanes without losing speed.
It may seem counterintuitive to tell a trucker to slow down; they’re on a schedule, after all. However, driving at a slower but more consistent speed can significantly maximize fuel efficiency. In fact, according to ATBS, a rule of thumb is that every mile per hour driven over 60 mph reduces fuel economy by one-tenth of a mile per gallon. This doesn’t sound like much at first glance, but you’re losing 1 mile per gallon of fuel if you’re driving your route at 70 mph. This is a significant loss when you consider how many miles you drive for each job and how much more often you have to stop if you’re losing this much fuel. Plan your routes carefully with a speed of 60 mph in mind and reap the benefits of better fuel efficiency for your truck.
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