Updated: Jul 31
Improving your fuel efficiency by 1 MPG can save you over $10,000 per year! Luckily for you, there are many simple ways to improve this. Here is our list of the Top 25 Ways for Truck Drivers to Improve Fuel Efficiency.
1. MINIMIZE CRUISE SPEED
This one may seem obvious, but going faster means you are going to burn more fuel. Every 1 MPH increase in speed results in a .14 MPG decrease in fuel economy.
2. MANAGE CRUISE RPM
Managing the speed of your engine is also important in maximizing your fuel efficiency. Find the “sweet spot”, which is the most efficient RPM to run your engine. 1250 - 1350 RPM tends to be a good “sweet spot”.
3. USE THE LOWEST COST STATIONS
An easy way to save money on fuel is to fill up at the lower cost stations. Many trucking-specific GPS systems will plan your route for you to stop at the less-expensive fuel stations along the way.
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4. TAKE THE SHORTEST ROUTE
There are often many different ways to get to the same destination. Take the route that requires the least amount of driving in order to use the least amount of fuel.
5. AVOID UNNECESSARY DRIVING
If you are going to go out of your way to stop for fuel, you might as well use the restroom and purchase any items you need, in order to avoid going out of your way to stop again a few hours later.
6. AVOID UNNECESSARY ITEMS
The more weight that is in your truck, the more it has to work to move down the highway. Your truck already carries thousands of pounds, don’t make it carry any more than it has to.
7. MONITOR TIRE PRESSURE
Underinflated tires decrease your fuel economy. For every 1 PSI drop in pressure, your fuel mileage can be reduced by 0.3%.
8. MINIMIZE IDLING
Only idle your truck when absolutely necessary. One hour of idling burns about a gallon of fuel.
9. DON’T OVERFILL THE TANK
When fuel is heated, it can begin to expand. This means if you fill your tank to capacity, the expanded fuel can cause the tank to overflow and waste fuel.
10. BE MODERATE WITH BRAKING
Braking is a necessary part of driving. However, every time you slow down from braking, it takes more fuel to get back up to speed. Leaving more distance between you and the vehicle you are following can reduce braking.
11. STAY IN HIGHER GEAR
Driving in the highest gear possible is a good way to help maximize fuel efficiency. Traveling at faster rates in low gears can consume 45% more fuel than is needed.
12. KEEP LOAD HEIGHT LOW
The more evenly distributed the load is in the trailer, the less effort the truck will need to get moving. It’s good practice to keep the load as low and as level as possible.
13. USE YOUR MOMENTUM
Your foot doesn’t always need to be on the gas pedal, burning fuel. If you see a hill coming up, use the downward part of the hill to build speed and use that momentum to get yourself up the other side.
14. MINIMIZE AIR CONDITIONING
Every time you use your A/C, you are increasing fuel consumption by 0.2-0.4 miles per gallon. Sometimes this can be unavoidable, but when you can, just crack the window!
15. CHECK VEHICLE ALIGNMENT
Another important factor to getting the best possible fuel efficiency is to make sure your tires are pointed straight down the road. A tire that is even ¼ degree from perfectly straight will try to travel 10-15 feet sideways every mile.
16. INSPECT THE FAN
Your engine fan will typically run 5%-7% of the time the engine is on, but will run much more frequently if there is a problem with it. This affects fuel efficiency because the more the fan runs, the more horsepower the truck uses.
17. USE CRUISE CONTROL
When you are able to, use cruise control. Cruise control can limit unnecessary acceleration and deceleration and can actually save you up to 6% in fuel consumption on the road.
18. CHECK BATTERY CABLES
Check and clean your battery cables any time you are getting an engine check-up. If your battery cables are corroded, it causes the alternator to work harder.
19. INVEST IN AERODYNAMICS
There are many add-ons you can purchase for your truck to improve aerodynamics, which leads to improved fuel efficiency. Three of the most common add-ons are tractor side fairings, deep angled bumpers, and trailer skirts.
20. LEARN FROM THE EXPERTS
There are drivers out there who specialize in fuel efficiency and aerodynamics. Don't be afraid to look up their videos or read their articles and listen to what they have to say.
21. UNDERSTAND YOUR TRUCK
As you know, the technology of trucks has advanced greatly over the years. Make sure you understand your truck inside and out and are taking advantage of all the technology on your truck that will help with your fuel efficiency.
22. PLAN YOUR TRIP
Aside from just taking the shortest route, plan out when you're going to get to certain places on your trip and where you're going to fill up. If possible, avoid driving through places at times you know there will be a lot of traffic and fill up in places where the net price will be lowest.
23. TRACK YOUR NUMBERS
Make sure you are keeping a record of your fuel mileage daily, weekly, or monthly. This way you will able to see how you're improving over time and if the changes you are making are working.
24. BE OPEN TO CHANGING YOUR DRIVING HABITS
It can be hard to make changes if you've been doing something the same way over time. However, you can start by making small changes and once you see how these small changes improve your fuel mileage you'll be more likely to keep making changes over time.
25. KEEP FUEL EFFICIENCY IN MIND
Lastly, one of the best ways to improve fuel efficiency is to make it a priority. Keep this list in mind and think about these things while you are on the road. Soon, you will be maximizing your fuel efficiency without even realizing it.