As an owner operator one of largest expenses you have is fuel and maintenance on your truck. Luckily gas prices are down right now, but let’s not forget where prices were almost double todays price. Those days will be back, and you’ll want to make sure you are already taking the right step forward on saving fuel. Don’t worry, there’s technology to help you with these tasks to make this easier on you!
These trucks are built & tested to specific specs to get you the least amount of wind resistance, so by adding other unnecessary accessories like sun visors or bug deflectors will cause restriction. Another great way to increase performance is by adding aerodynamic panel skirts and tail fairings. If you’re not familiar with what these are, the look like an extension to the rear of your trailer that sticks out about 3 feet which makes it look like your trailer doors are open. This might take a small investment of a couple thousand dollars upfront, but in the long run could put more dollars back in your pocket.
Keep up with your maintenance, this includes checking your air pressure in all your tires. Lower pressure in your tires will create a resistance which creates more energy and fuel usage. Air filters need to be cleaned or changed regularly. Depending on the conditions you drive in, dusty or dirty you may want to change your air filter at least once a year. Your filter restriction gauge should also indicate when the change is needed.
Map out your routes & log your results
Look at the prices of fuel throughout the different states. With technology today, there are apps for your smart phone that will show you the different fuel prices. Just with fuel taxes can save you a significant amount of money at the end of the year. You may have a route that can get you to your destination sooner but may cost your fuel due to the terrain. For an example, if you have route that can save you on 20 miles of driving but you have to go through steep mountains (both incline and decline will cost you more fuel), versus a flat route that’ll take you a little longer, which would you take? If you know your truck well and if you’ve been keeping track of previous trips you’ll know if it’ll be cost effective to do either route. With all this new technology and apps for smart phones you can also figure out which routes are possibly experiencing traffic or road closure. A good app and most smart phones have them preinstalled is Google Maps. This will show you where the traffic is backed up and can show you alternative routes.
Truck Stops & Fueling Up
As you may already know, fuel expands when hot and causes vapors which will result in less fuel in the tank if you’re filling up in the warmer time of the day. All vehicles always run more efficient with a full tank, so try to avoid filling up when your tank is empty. I still recall my father telling me when I first got my car to never drive until I’m on empty, always try to fill up when I have a quarter to half tank left. He said all the sediment and gunk settles to the bottom and that will result in this crap getting in the fuel pump and lowering the performance of the vehicle.
Slow Down, But Not Too Slow
Try to keep constant speed and avoid speeding, getting to your destination faster doesn’t always mean you’re making more money especially if your burning unnecessary fuel. Be aware of posted speed limits, they change throughout all the different highways. Maintaining a steady speed by using your cruise control will help with dumping money way. A recent client of ours made it a goal to use his cruise control as much as possible the last year. He said he hardly used it the previous 10 years he’s been driving. He said he saw a significant difference in better gas mileage over the past year, and to top that off he said the energy he normally spent with his foot on the pedals he was able to drive at longer times.
So hopefully some of these tips will put dollars back in your pocket, and not in your gas tank, happy trucking!