It was pointed out to me that I often end my day with less than 10 minutes left on my clock. That is not a coincidence. My goal is to maximize my profitability. I don't always drive my truck to maximize my fuel mileage. Don't get me wrong. Cutting fuel costs is important. It is the first line in the expense portion of my income statements. The most important line is the bottom line. The goal is to make that line the priority.


You may need to speed up a bit. That extra speed may mean getting in an extra load. That extra load may increase your bottom line. It will increase your fuel expense. The extra load will mean more gross income. Know your per mile fuel expense. It can be more important than you total fuel expense. Getting that extra 400 mile run might mean burning an additional $300 in fuel. It may add $600 in revenue. Always try to find the balance.


Many company trucks are governed. Most owner operator trucks are not. We all see those trucks that are governed at 62. It drives us nuts when they try to pass each other. Governing trucks can save companies fuel and insurance costs. Good judgment increases you bottom line. Driving unsafe or over the speed limit can cost you more than just fuel. You should never plan your runs to the point where that is necessary.


The owner operator has more flexibility in deciding how fast to drive. That does not mean running up to the speed limit all the time. If your load is not on a tight schedule, back out of it. It seems as if those governed trucks always want to run to the governor. Sometimes they pass me. Sometimes I pass them. Recently I had one of those low mileage days. I had to deliver to a St. Louis suburb. Then I picked up a 46,964 lb. Beer load. That load went to a Milwaukee suburb. The run was fairly flat. I dropped my speed down to 60 mph. Despite the heavy load I averaged 8.77 mpg. By slowing down and decreasing my fuel costs my profit on the run increased.


The biggest advantage that the owner operator who drives their own truck is their driver. The owner/driver should always keep that bottom line in mind. Drive for profit. Learn where your truck operates at its peak efficiency. That peak efficiency may be at a different speed when it is grossing 80,000 lbs. Than when it is grossing 50,000 pounds. Learn your truck. Know your runs. Then use your good judgment to maximize your profits.

Comments (2)

Jeff Clark

Jeff Clark of Kewaunee, WI has been driving a truck for 24 years. He has been an owner operator for 11 years.

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I usually run about 62. There are days when I will run slower. I have noticed that with lighter loads, that works really well. Sometimes with heavier loads, I will take more advantage of the E coast when I run a little faster.

October 07, 2014 5:46:41 AM

Jeff we do not often run into this dilemma as our delivery times are set with a slow average speed. Yesterday was an exception as the customer called us to say since we were getting to his business so close to quitting time he would wait for our truck. We ran the speed limit through Florida at 70 mph so that we could unload and be available for another load first thing in the morning. Being flexible and business smart is how to maximize our profit.

October 07, 2014 4:30:12 AM