Trucker Tips for Improving Fuel Economy

Trucker Tips for Improving Fuel Economy

Want to go farther on your tanks of diesel? Paying attention to your fuel economy can help you drive farther without stopping and increase overall driving efficiency. We've compiled these handy tips that will keep you economically wise.

Drive slower
We suggest drivers plan their days ahead of time. If the run you are on can be made in 9 hours 30 minutes at 62 mph, going 65 mph will only save you 15 minutes. Either way, you are not likely to start on another run that day, so running slower will save fuel and not affect miles for the day. If you need to run 65 mph to be on time, it will sacrifice fuel economy. Note: dispatch software is set to plan loads at 50 mph, and drivers that have slowed down still average 50 to 51 mph. At 60 mph, the weight of the load doesn’t affect fuel economy as much, so refusing a load because of weight has less merit. Communicate with your DM about what time you can make the destination traveling at 60 mph, and eliminate unnecessary stops.

Accelerate easier
Do not depress the accelerator pedal too far.

Progressive shifting
To get in high range as soon as possible, and to shift as quickly as possible in low range, use up shift lamp and fuel economy will improve, as long as you can maintain acceleration.

Maintain tire pressure
Use a tire pressure gauge prior to taking off while the tires are cold. This will not only improve fuel economy, but cut tire cost and increase safety. Guidelines: 110 psi steer, 100 psi drives, and 100 psi trailer. A low trailer tire lowers fuel economy and can cause a breakdown, delaying freight and reducing the number of miles for the day.

Increase following distance
Following other vehicles too closely is not only dangerous, but it causes drivers to brake and then accelerate again, rather than getting off the throttle and back on, or changing lanes. Slowing down reduces the chance of accidents and reduces stress.

Keep the tractor and trailer within 30 inches
There is a loss of .1% fuel economy for every inch beyond 30 inches between the tractor and trailer.

Use cruise control whenever possible
Do not use cruise control in adverse weather conditions.

Downshift correctly
Drivers that allow RPMs to fall too far or shift too soon on a grade have to shift more often, lose power, and get poorer fuel economy in the mountains.  Down shift at 1,100 RPM for maximum horse power on a pull and improve MPG.

Use the APU properly
Run with the curtains closed and prep the sleeper area before you park down. If you have already parked, start the unit up and prep the sleeper for 15 minutes, then shut down and turn the APU on. Using the curtains on the windshield will prevent solar gain and will help the curtains on the bunk to contain cool air. Some drivers have also added reflectors to the windshield with great results. Set the temperature in the bunk to where you are comfortable but not cold. Note: the APU comes on at 77°, and each light that is removed drops the temperature by 1°. Removing all the lights causes the unit to freeze up and use more battery power, which can cause more idle time. Not using the APU and auto start/stop as designed can lower fuel economy by 1.0 MPG.

Auto Start/Stop
Shut the auto start/stop off if you get out of the truck; this will allow the sleeper to stay cool without running the engine when you are not in the unit. Also, contact a DM if the unit starts up too soon or runs more than two hours on a regular basis, so Celadon knows repairs are needed.