Whether you are an owner operator with one rig and trailer or you own a fleet of trucks, you may be starting to worry about the rising costs of diesel fuel. The more money that you spend on fuel, means less profit for you. This makes it even more important to find ways to cut costs and save money as a truck driver or fleet owner. Lucky for you, there are ways to save money while still delivering your loads wherever they need to go!
Here are some tips to help you save money, even as fuel costs continue to rise.
Make maintenance an important part of your job. Maintenance is essential for fuel efficiency. Trucks and trailers should be monitored regularly for bad tires and unaligned wheels. You should also make sure that the air filter is clean. If it is dirty, the fuel to air ratio will be higher, and you will use more fuel. You should also consider using good quality, energy-conserving (EC) oils. If you want the best, look for bottles that have ECII on them. This is the American Society of Testing Materials (ASTM) logo for fuel-efficient oils.
Make sure that your tires are properly inflated. Though this may seem unimportant, the truth is that tires that are properly inflated can improve fuel efficiency by an average of 0.6%. Because of this, you (and your drivers) need to be constantly checking the tire pressure. Changes in weather and temperature can really effect it, so you should make sure that tire pressure is checked before every trip. You may even require it to be checked at every stop, to ensure that the tires are helping your fuel mileage, instead of harming it.
You also want to monitor the oxygen sensor. This device analyzes the oxygen concentration in the exhaust to make sure that the right amount of fuel is used. By fixing or replacing the oxygen sensor when it goes bad, you can improve your fuel efficiency by up to forty percent. This can make a big difference in the amount of fuel that you are using in your trucks.
Don’t leave your commercial vehicle idling. Though it takes more fuel to start your truck, the truth is that vehicles that sit idling waste a lot of fuel for no reason. If you have to leave your truck running for more than ten or fifteen minutes, you are simply wasting fuel. You (and your drivers) should shut off your vehicle whenever you are loading and unloading. You also should shut off the truck at any rest stops that are going to last more than a few minutes. If you are going in to grab a quick snack off of the shelf, you may want to leave it running. However, if you are going to have to order food and wait for it, it makes sense to just shut it off.
Aggressive driving can also affect your fuel efficiency. Speeding can reduce your fuel efficiency by up to thirty percent. You are going to use more fuel when you are trying to drive too fast. You are also going to use more fuel if you are starting and stopping, trying to accelerate quickly, stopping suddenly, and even taking your corners too sharply. Not only is all of that dangerous, it can really hurt your bottom line. You need to make sure that you drive as sensibly as possible. If you have drivers, don’t push them to drive too fast to get where they need to be as quickly as possible. Reward sensible driving and give them a reasonable amount of time to get to where are going.
Always use the best vehicle and trailer for the job. If you have multiple trucks and trailers, it is important to match the right equipment to the job. You aren’t going to save money on fuel if you use your big rig to take a lawn mower across town. It would be much simpler to put it in the back of a pickup or on a small trailer. However, you can take this too far. You don’t want to overload your trailer, just to get something across town. If your trailer is rated for ten thousand pounds, you can’t put twelve thousand pounds on it. You are going to use a lot more fuel to get where you are going. Your truck may also struggle with the load. You may end up breaking something because you pushed it too hard, meaning even less profit.
Buy newer and better vehicles. Newer vehicles are made to be more efficient. They use less fuel, and put off less exhaust and harmful products. Though this may be expensive, the truth is that it will save you money over time!
The best way to save money on fuel is to have your trucks and trailers properly maintained. They will work harder and smarter for you. This involves the tire pressure and oxygen sensors. Both of these items can really save you money on your fuel. Safe driving can also make a difference. If you are speeding, constantly slamming on your breaks, and accelerating quickly, you are going to end up spending more money on fuel. By spending a little more time behind the wheel, you can save yourself a lot of money. If you have drivers, you also don’t want to push them. Give them plenty of time to get to their destination. Don’t make them drive erratically, just to get their load delivered! That being said, you also don’t want to give them extra time to spend idling along the side of the road. Though it takes a lot of fuel to start, it is even worse to leave a truck idling for a half an hour (or more). That is just wasting your money for no reason!
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