Don’t Let the Cost of Diesel Fuel Take a Bite out of Your Trucking Profits

If you’re looking to reduce the cost of doing business in the trucking industry, controlling fuel costs is one of the best ways to get there.

The trucking industry burns through an estimated 38 billion gallons of diesel annually, and fuel can account for as much as 39% of your operating expenses.

From driving safely to taking advantage of savings opportunities, there are many ways to boost efficiency and reduce how much you spend on diesel. It’s good for the economy, the environment and most importantly for you, your bottom line.

Drive Smart for Better Semi Truck Fuel Economy

Most people know that safe driving habits reduce your risk of an accident. But did you also know they reduce your fuel costs?

  • Slow down — for every 5 mph over 65 mph you drive, you lose 7% in fuel efficiency.
  • Avoid unnecessary idling. According to one estimate, it costs the transportation industry $20 billion a year!
  • Use cruise control when possible to reduce shifting.
  • Switch off the engine when the truck is not in use. No more leaving it running because you’ll “only be gone a minute.”
  • Accelerate slowly to burn less fuel.
  • Keep your RPMs in a lower range when shifting gears.
  • Avoid excessive braking.
  • Position cargo weight as far forward as possible within axle weight limits.

Want Better Semi Truck MPG? Inspect Before You Drive

A semi truck in poor condition compromises safety and hurts your fuel economy. That’s why your drivers must get in the habit of conducting regular maintenance checks, not just some of the time, but every time before hitting the road.

Here’s what drivers should be checking before every trip:

  • Tire pressure
  • Worn or under-inflated tires
  • Trailer and axle alignment
  • Leaking air coolers
  • Clogged air filters
  • Worn-out fuel injectors
  • Oil in need of changing
  • All fluids at proper levels
  • Lubricate all moving parts including the 5th wheel

Plan Ahead to Improve Fuel Mileage While Driving

Taking time to plan routes, and staying abreast of traffic conditions during a run can help you avoid unexpected slow-downs that waste both fuel and time.

  • Stay away from road construction zones as much as possible.
  • Avoid hitting major cities during morning or afternoon rush hour.
  • Listen to the weather forecast and plan alternate routes to avoid hazardous road conditions.
  • Pay attention to topography — while it can’t always be helped, limit how much you have to drive uphill.
  • Invest in GPS, mobile apps and other digital tools to help with trip planning.

Maximize Semi Truck Aerodynamics

Believe it or not, the design of your truck and trailer make a difference when it comes to fuel costs. Too much air resistance creates aerodynamic “drag” which makes the engine work too hard.

Roof-mounted deflectors and deep angled bumpers are features that can improve the efficiency of your cab.

Advanced trailers, such as those available through Prime Inc.’s Advanced Fleet Power Fleet program, come with fuel-saving technologies including efficient reefer units, wide-based tires, trailer tails and skirts.

Know When and Where to Fuel Up

Paying attention to your fuel gauge and refueling at the best times can pay off in the form of lower costs.

  • Don’t wait until the tank is empty or almost empty. You get better mileage when it is half-full or better.
  • Fill your tank early in the morning when possible.
  • Optimize routes to plan fuel stops effectively. Advanced Fleet drivers have access to a proprietary fuel optimization routing system that provides daily updates on the least expensive places to buy diesel within Prime’s vast fuel network.

Take Advantage of Power Fleet Fuel Saver Opportunities

In addition to your efforts to reduce overall diesel consumption, look for opportunities to save money on the fuel you do purchase.

Power only drivers with the Advanced Fleet program get a fuel card that includes deep discounts throughout the Prime Inc. fuel network.

Other fuel-related benefits include fuel consumption diagnostics and a 24-hour onsite fuel department to help you troubleshoot problems at the pump.

Are you looking to improve your fuel efficiency and control how much you spend on diesel?

Contact us to learn more about how you can save money by joining the Advanced Fleet program as a Power Fleet driver.