How Truck Drivers Can Improve Their Fuel Efficiency

by Pride Transport | Jun 20, 2019

As of writing this article the national average cost for diesel fuel is $3.17 per gallon. The average semi has two tanks each with about a 150-gallon capacity. That means to fill a truck up it’s going to cost between $475.00 and $951.00. That’s a lot of money. With the uneasy fuel market in this ever-changing economy, those numbers may rise significantly or they may fall … slightly. Either way, it makes sense for drivers to do all they can to keep their truck’s fuel efficiency high and their fuel costs low. With that in mind, we have some tips on keeping your truck running smoothly, efficiently, and more economically.


Manage Your Speed

You may be tempted to drive faster, get the run over with and make a little more money. That seems like a good idea but keep in mind that every 1 mph increase in speed results in a 0.14 miles per gallon decrease in fuel economy.

Suppose you drive 2,500 miles per week and you increase your speed by 10 mph to save time. Your working at an average of 5.9 mpg, in this case, your fuel economy will drop to 4.5 mpg. Your truck will consume approximately 132 extra gallons of fuel at a cost of $418. Is that extra 10 mph worth $418 per week? The answer is no.

You can do this on your own or you can have your truck’s ECM set. If you set your road speed limiter at 65 mph you’ll be fine with your fuel economy.


Ease The Load

The truck already carries tens of thousands of pounds as is; avoid adding unnecessary items to your truck and increase the weight. Try to keep truck and in-cab accessories to a minimum.


Under Pressure

Simple fact, improperly inflated tires decrease fuel economy. Routinely check all tires to ensure that they are properly inflated and add or remove air as needed. Also, replace or repair tires that seem to lose air frequently.


Avoid Flooring it

Sudden acceleration puts a lot of strain on a truck’s engine and this results in wasted fuel. Avoid flooring it when the light turns green and you’ll save some green.


Minimalize Idling

When your truck is stopped and you leave it running unnecessarily, you’re just wasting fuel. Obviously, it’s impractical to turn off your truck then on again at every minor traffic jam. But, avoid leaving your truck running for extended periods of time. For example, if you’re stopped at a rest area and don’t plan on getting back on the road for 30 minutes, turn your truck off.


Someone Open a Window

If weather permits, switch off the air conditioner and open a window. Feel some fresh air moving through your cab. In fact, if you only use your a/c when it’s really hot, you’re going to run this rig much more efficiently.


Aerodynamics is the Word

Studies have found that almost 50% of truck’s fuel is consumed for overcoming aerodynamic drag while traveling at highway speeds.

If your trailer is taller than your tractor uses a roof-mounted cab deflector, deep angle bumper or a sun visor to deflect the air from your windscreen to the top of the trailer.

Also, sue side fairings that channel air down the side of the trailer this will help avoid the turbulence underneath the trailer.


Oil & Fuel

Using the manufacturer recommended grade of motor oil can improve fuel mileage by 1%-2%. Seems small but, trust us, that really adds up.

Here are a few diesel tips;

  • Fill your truck up early in the morning. The idea is that gasoline is denser in colder temperatures and expands in higher temperatures. If you fill up your vehicle very early in the morning, you’ll be filling up at a time when the temperatures are coldest compared to the late morning, afternoon or early evening hours. Therefore, the belief is that you’ll be getting more gas than you would normally for the same amount of money.
  • Pump fuel at a low setting if possible. This will minimize vapors; more vapors means less fuel filling your tank.
  • Fill up your truck before it is fully empty. The fuller your truck the better mileage you will get.

Be Regular With Maintenence

Check your tire pressure, fuel filters, air filters, pumps, gaskets, and all other working parts of the engine. Keep your fluids topped off and your brakes in good shape. Doing these things on a regular basis is going to make your truck much more efficient.

Also, keep an eye on your trailer and drive axle alignment. It simply burns fuel when you’re dragging a tire sideways down the highway.


High Gear

Instead of starting and stopping, try speeding up and slowing down incrementally. You’ll have to make fewer gear changes to raise and reduce speed and you’ll be able to live in higher gears which saves fuel.



Collect momentum before going up a hill so you can use the energy to make it to the top. Once you reach the apex of the hill, you can use the gathered momentum to ride the downhill slope without using your gas pedal.


Keep it even

If your load is unevenly distributed it can affect how much effort your truck needs to make to get moving. Keep your load as low and even as possible. This will improve fuel economy.

All in all, improving your fuel economy comes down to common sense and keeping up with truck maintenance. At first, it may be tough to remember these changes, but, once you make them you’ll forget they were never part of your routine. That is, you’ll forget until you see how much lower your fuel bill is.

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