With the cost of fuel slowly creeping back up as the weather warms, truck drivers, especially independent contractors, are doing all they can to conserve fuel and cut costs. If your wallet is taking hit with the rising cost of fuel, try these tips to help you save more money and reduce your fuel consumption.
- Lay off the lead foot. Slowing down your tractor-trailer from 75 mph to just 65 mph can increase your fuel mileage by more than a mile per gallon, a massive increase for any vehicle that hauls thousands of pounds of freight and gets less than 10 mpg.
- Not only is engine idling bad for the environment (many states are enforcing strict anti-idling regulations), it's a major waste of fuel. An idling engine burns as much as one gallon per hour. To heat or cool your cab, consider installing a cab cooling system or an auxiliary power unit or generator.
- Most major truck stops or travel centers (e.g. Flying J, Pilot, TA, Petro, etc.) offer loyalty programs; the more you shop there, the more incentives you earn, such as cheaper fuel, cash back, or free showers and food. It doesn't cost anything to sign up but the benefits of doing so can be significant.
- Search for the lowest fuel prices in your area. Anyone who has held various cdl truck jobs knows that not only do fuel prices usually vary from state to state, but they can also be different from city to city. In fact, truck stops just a few miles apart may be charging different prices for fuel. Taking the time to research fuel prices along your route is well worth the benefit.
- Can the aerodynamics of your tractor-trailer be improved to increase fuel efficiency? For example, adding side skirts to the trailer can actually save nearly 3,000 gallons of gas every year.
- Always keep your tires properly inflated; tires that aren't can waste extra fuel since they are not operating at peak efficiency.