It’s no secret that fuel costs represent a major expense for truckers and fleet managers. Due to their weight, many commercial trucks barely make it to 6.5 miles per gallon. Their fuel economy can differ, ranging from about 3 mpg while going uphill to 23 mpg when going downhill. Since commercial truck drivers gain more mileage when they go downhill, it might be tempting to formulate routes based on downhill roads, but this approach is not always practical or effective.
These are all reasons is why optimizing fuel usage is a key factor for keeping trucking businesses profitable. With so much on the line, it’s important to explore every possible strategy to control fuel usage. Cutting unneeded fuel usage can lead to significant savings over time, and there are a few effective strategies that can help you do this. With the money you save, your trucking business can invest back into itself, making room for upgrades and expansions.
Let’s take a look at some of the most effective fuel-saving strategies.
Reduce Idling Time
Idle time contributes to an excessive amount of fuel wasted. Idling a diesel engine for just one hour can consume up to one gallon of fuel. This can quickly add up over time, but it’s not just the financial impact that you should be concerned about. Excessive idling can also lead to unnecessary wear and tear on the engine, leading to costly repairs. By reducing idle time, you can help your truck become more efficient and save money in the long run.
Watch Your Speed
You’re more than aware that speed can have a huge impact on fuel consumption. Driving at high speeds doesn’t just put you and other drivers at risk, but it also goes through fuel at a faster rate. That’s why we recommend watching your speed and driving at a reasonable speed whenever possible.
Encourage Fuel Conservation
Incentives can be a great way to motivate drivers to conserve fuel. Offering rewards for drivers that maintain a certain level of fuel efficiency can help encourage them to be more mindful when it comes to fuel consumption. Also, providing driver training can ensure that they are taking the most efficient routes.
Minimize Unnecessary Weight
Carrying too much weight can lead to a decrease in fuel efficiency, so it’s important to make sure that the trucks are not carrying too much weight. No one likes wasting money, and we understand that empty cargo space can be viewed as a waste of opportunity and money. However, you don’t want to fill up the empty space with unnecessary goods. Every extra pound of weight you add to the truck will lead to decreased fuel economy, so keeping the weight down is important.
Check Tire Pressure
You must keep the tires of your trucks at an optimal level of inflation. When tires are not properly inflated, they create more resistance on the road, and this leads to the engine working harder and burning more fuel. Regularly check your tires for any wear and tear that can decrease their efficiency.
Don’t Overfill The Tank
Though it may seem contradictory, overfilling the tank can also lead to decreased fuel efficiency. Why? Extra fuel in the tank adds weight, and this increases the resistance of your truck on the road. So make sure to fill up your tank with just enough fuel to get you from Point A to Point B.
Adjust Your Shifting
Changing gears too quickly or late can have a big impact on fuel efficiency. Your engine needs to be in the right gear at the right time, and if you’re shifting too quickly or late, it can lead to your engine working harder than it needs to. By adjusting the way you shift, you can help your truck become more efficient and burn less fuel. With fuel costs representing a significant expense in the trucking industry, optimizing fuel usage can help save money and increase profitability.
Improving fuel economy can have positive impacts on the environment and contribute to a more sustainable future. However, improving fuel economy can also have an impact on commercial truck insurance rates. Insurers consider a company or driver’s safety record and overall risk profile when setting premiums. Those who maintain a high level of fuel efficiency generally showcase a commitment to safety and responsible trucking.
By taking the necessary steps to reduce fuel consumption, you can help ensure that your company is seen as a responsible operator, which could lead to lower insurance premiums and save you money. If you’re looking to improve your commercial truck operation, start by focusing on fuel efficiency. For more tips and insight into how to optimize your fleet operations and how to ensure you are properly protected with the right commercial truck insurance coverage, please do not hesitate to contact us today. J.E.B. Insurance Services provides commercial and owner operator insurance in Florida, Georgia, Texas, North Carolina, South Carolina, Illinois, Iowa, Tennessee & Nebraska.