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10 Ways to Improve Trucking Fuel Economy

Updated: Dec 3, 2021

My million miler friend once quoted "this was the best way for a truck driver to conserve fuel. Apply pressure to the gas pedal gently and conservatively. Use light pressure when increasing and decreasing speed, and you will enjoy better gas mileage."


Almost every trucker has a way to save fuel and increase the average miles per gallon. Of course, some methods are tried and true. Others work for some but not others. Nevertheless, saving fuel is an important part of being a carrier and a basic means of increasing your profits.


Diesel fuel prices go up and down, and regardless of the price of diesel being up or down, fuel cost is a major factor in turning a profit while driving a truck. It’s no secret that fuel is the No. 1 expense when driving a truck, and there are several ways to increase semi truck fuel efficiency. Let’s take a look at some ways you can increase your fuel efficiencies.


1) Improve Fuel Efficiency with Better Speed Control


Many of the speed limits on highways and freeways have been increased in the U.S. over the years. Even for trucks, speed limits have continued to go up and up. While this does allow truck drivers to reach their destination in a shorter time period, the reward may not be worth the penalty.


2) Improve fuel efficiency with better gear changing


Changing gears uses fuel, so it makes sense that how you’re changing gears can have a significant impact. These tips might help:

  • Make sure you use progressive shifting techniques and shift efficiently

  • Use a combination of braking and shifting to slow down

  • Maintain as high a gear as possible

  • Stay 200-300 rpm below the governor at cruise



3) Improve fuel efficiency by finding the RPM sweet spot


Each engine has a unique RPM sweet spot. It can take time to figure out precisely what yours is, but it is worth it for your trucking fuel economy in the end. The sweet spot typically means you have to drive at a constant speed, sometimes slower than you would like. The harder your engine has to work to maintain certain speeds, the more fuel it will use. Since current engines are made to experience higher torque at lower RPMs, you want your engine to run at the lowest possible RPMs.


4) Improve fuel efficiency with an aerodynamic package


Using aerodynamic packages that reduce wind resistance will also help improve fuel efficiency. An aerodynamic profile tractor could save thousands of dollars in fuel costs each year over a classic long-nose tractor. Add-ons for the trailer could save an additional 5-7% in fuel economy benefit. Make sure to maintain as narrow a tractor-trailer gap as possible.


5) Improve fuel efficiency with low-rolling resistance tires


Low-rolling resistance tires are a great improvement to a truck – both in wear on the tire and fuel efficiency. For every 3% rolling resistance improvement, you will likely see an increase of 1% in fuel efficiency and enhanced performance.


6) Improve fuel efficiency with the right lubricants


Low-viscosity lubricants can improve fuel economy by about 2%, while the new formulations have been known to increase efficiency by up to 4%


7) Improve fuel efficiency with technology


Technology has an impact on almost every part of our lives in the modern world. It’s no different for the trucking industry. There are all kinds of different technologies available to truckers. These technologies can help you map smarter routes since they can take all the conditions and variations of the road and adjust for them.


8) Improve fuel efficiency with smarter braking


Every time you brake harshly or more frequently than you should, you increase your truck’s fuel consumption. In turn, it reduces your truck’s fuel mileage significantly. It has this effect since braking causes your transmission to downshift or manually regain the momentum you lost when you braked. The lower the gear you are in, the faster your engine’s revolutions have to be. The higher your RPMs, the more fuel you waste and the harder you make it on your vehicle to haul your cargo.


9) Improve fuel efficiency with low-rolling resistance tires


Low-rolling resistance tires are a great improvement to a truck – both in wear on the tire and fuel efficiency. For every 3% rolling resistance improvement, you will likely see an increase of 1% in fuel efficiency and enhanced performance.


10) Improve fuel efficiency with an aerodynamic package


Using aerodynamic packages that reduce wind resistance will also help improve fuel efficiency. An aerodynamic profile tractor could save thousands of dollars in fuel costs each year over a classic long-nose tractor. Add-ons for the trailer could save an additional 5-7% in fuel economy benefit. Make sure to maintain as narrow a tractor-trailer gap as possible.







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