How Truck Drivers Can Increase Fuel Mileage

Fuel mileage has always been an important consideration for individuals with truck driving jobs - the lower the gas mileage, the higher the costs and the more money out-of-pocket.  Try these easy and effective tips to save gas and increase your bottom line.

Step 1

Aerodynamics. A tractor-trailer with aerodynamic features installed on the top, sides, and undersides of the tractor can significantly improve fuel economy.  In fact, depending on the type of aerodynamic devices installed (e.g. chassis side fairings, an aerodynamic hood, etc.) trucks can improve fuel efficiency by 5 to 10 percent.  Specially designed aerodynamic tractor-trailers (such as the Kenworth T600) can boost fuel mileage by as much as 20%.

Step 2

Slow Down. One of the simplest ways to improve fuel economy is to ease up on that lead foot!  When truck drivers set 60 mph as their cruising speed, their gas mileage is significantly improved.  Why?  There’s less aerodynamic drag, so you use less fuel trying to maintain your speed.

Step 3

Track Your Fuel Mileage.  An economy display device can track their fuel mileage up to the minute, allowing truck drivers to alter their driving techniques to increase fuel mileage.

Step 4

Maintain RPM. Each engine has a unique torque curve and thus has an optimal RPM (revolutions per minute) as recommended by the engine manufacturer.  Drivers operating at optimal RPM (typically between 1200 and 1600 RPM) will maximize their fuel mileage. 

Step 5

Do Away with Idling. Conventional idling wastes anywhere between .5 and 1.2 gallons of diesel every hour.  So don’t idle!  Instead, opt for alternatives that provide power with idling, such as cab cooling systems, auxiliary power units, or even stopping at “electrified” truck stops which allow truckers to plug into an electric system using a big yellow hose that directly connects to the cab (learn more about truck stop electrification here). 

Step 6

Properly Inflate Tires. Not only is proper tire inflation safer, it’s also better for your fuel mileage.  Under-inflated tires can cause a 1% loss in fuel mileage and increase your risk of getting a flat or a puncture.

Step 7

Improve Driving Techniques. Believe it or not, something as simple as changing the way you drive can actually increase fuel mileage and optimize engine performance.  Aside from reducing your speed, try block shifting and progressive shifting and to keep your speed steady (continuous braking and accelerating reduces fuel mileage).


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