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How to Make Your Truck More Fuel Efficient

Updated: Oct 7, 2022

Even though semi-trucks aren’t known for their fuel efficiency, there are steps you can take to help improve how much fuel you’re using. In a previous article, we talked about how you can drive your truck more efficiently. In this article, we’ll discuss some of the quick and relatively cheap changes you can make to your truck to improve fuel efficiency. All of these suggestions shouldn’t take a large investment and are changes that can be made in a short amount of time.

Pay Attention to Aerodynamics

Aerodynamics contributes to 50% of your truck’s overall fuel economy. This is why one of the goals when it comes to spec’ing your truck should be to minimize aerodynamic drag. Aerodynamic drag is the force that makes it harder for a truck to go forward and it’s caused when air is no longer smoothly flowing around the truck and trailer.

There are many improvements you can make to your truck to improve its aerodynamics. Below is a list of a few of the most common.

  • Drive Fenders - The first chance to allow air to pass smoothly along the rest of the vehicle

  • Cab Extenders - Reduces the airflow between the tractor and trailer where there is often a larger gap

  • Wheel Covers - Closes gaps in the wheel to prevent air from getting into the crevices

  • Side Skirts - Prevent air from going underneath the trailer by keeping it flowing smoothly along the side

  • Trailer Tail - The tapered shape reduces drag from the low-pressure wake created behind the trailer

These are just a few of the more common upgrades you can make to your truck and trailer for it to be more fuel-efficient. The idea is to have everything working together on the truck and trailer to make the entire tractor-trailer as fuel-efficient as possible.


In addition to wheel covers, there are many things you need to pay attention to when it comes to your tires in order to improve fuel efficiency. One thing drivers are beginning to do is move to wide-based tires instead of conventional dual rib tires. Wide-based tires may help increase overall MPG by up to 4% due to their lower rolling resistance.

Keep in mind that if you decide to put new tires on your truck that it takes them approximately 35,000 to 50,000 miles before they are properly broken in. This will be when you really begin to notice a change in your fuel efficiency. Tires that are properly worn-in can give up to a 7% increase in fuel economy.

Make sure to also keep your tires properly inflated. Not only will it help keep you safe and prevent possible blowouts, but if every tire is underinflated by at least 10 psi, you will see a 1% reduction in your fuel economy.


Using fuel-efficient lubricants is a change you can make with little to no increased investment that can help improve your fuel efficiency. Lubricants limit the damage of important components of the vehicle including the engine, transmission, and drivetrain. Without lubricants, these parts of your vehicle will grind together causing wear and tear.

If you’re looking for fuel-efficient lubricant, you should look for a low-viscosity lubricant that meets your vehicle’s requirements. Manufacturers generally consider low-viscosity blends as “fuel economy” lubricants, since the fuel-saving potential can be significant. Low-viscosity lubricants are less resistant to flow than conventional lubricants, helping reduce friction and energy losses. With a good low-viscosity lubricant, you could see between 0.5% and 2% savings in fuel efficiency depending on speeds and the temperature.

While fuel-efficient lubricants typically cost more than conventional lubricants, for most trucks, the fuel cost savings generally outweigh the higher product cost. The combination of low-viscosity engine oils and drivetrain lubricants can save up to 500 gallons of fuel per year. This doesn’t even include the additional cost savings due to reduced component wear and maintenance.

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