No matter the price of diesel, fuel costs play a major role in turning a profit as a truck driver. In fact, it’s one of the biggest expenses truckers have to manage, making up 39% of operating costs, according to research by Truckers Report. Fortunately, by understanding what factors affect efficiency, as well as industry best practices, you can save money and increase your bottom line. Here’s what you need to know.
What Factors Affect Fuel Efficiency?
Aggressive drivers consume far more fuel than the average trucker. Even if you increase efficiency by installing better tires and a more effective engine, going above the speed limit and constantly changing lanes will negate your gains.
The topography in the area you’re driving can impact fuel consumption. For example, driving on hills or mountains will require more diesel than flat lands. Additionally, the quality of the roads can have an impact; potholes and cracks in the asphalt or concrete can cause trucks to speed up and slow down frequently, reducing efficiency. Finally, weather conditions, such as rain, can cool the transmission and tires, which perform worse in cold temperatures.
The heavier a truck is, the more resistance there will be, increasing diesel consumption. For every 1,000 pounds you add to a load, you’ll see a 0.5% drop in fuel efficiency. Thus, it’s essential to reduce truck weight, without taking away from your profits.
How Can You Save Fuel?
Cut Down on Weight
Often, by replacing certain truck parts, you can cut down on weight. For example, wide-base single tires weigh around 70 pounds less than low-profile standard radials. Additionally, if your fuel tank is larger than what’s required for your needs, you could save by replacing it with a smaller one; you may need to stop to fill up more often, but the extra money you’ll hold onto will be worthwhile.
Perform Regular Maintenance
Check your tires regularly, as low pressure can decrease fuel efficiency. If they look worn, don’t replace them unless they need to be. Roll resistance decreases as they wear down, reducing fuel consumption. Additionally, put in new fuel injectors if they’re damaged, look for charge air cooler leaks, and make sure the trailer and drive axle are aligned to prevent tires from dragging.
Avoid Stopping & Starting
When you drive in traffic, you waste a lot of fuel each time you stop for a car in front of you; it’s more efficient to drive slowly. Pay close attention to other vehicles so you can avoid heavy braking. Finally, avoid driving during rush hour and use smart navigation tools to stay out of traffic.
When you’re ready to dive into a lucrative career as a truck driver, we’ll help you succeed. To learn more about our programs and the 2020 class schedule, call (330) 239-2229.
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