Henry Albert often compares 10 MPG to the 4 minute mile. My 4 minute mile is like running a quarter counter clockwise and then turning around and reversing direction after every lap. The industry has evolved. Part of that evolution is a shorter length of haul, and the use of multiple trailers on each tank. My tank included 3 loads and 4 different trailers.

The tank started with a light load, 17,364 pounds going from Green Bay, WI to Gahanna, OH with a stop in Obetz, OH. The first stop was scheduled for 04:00 eastern time, or 03:00 my time on a Wednesday. I had the choice of going in late Monday or early Tuesday to pick up the load. I chose to go in late Monday and get down to Sheboygan. That way, I could sleep in until 06:00 instead of getting up at 02:00. I fueled in Sheboygan and took a 10 hour break there. When I hit my first stop the tank was showing 11.1.

After my first stop, I headed up to Gahanna about 10 miles away to empty the load. Then it was about a 90 mile deadhead to Vandalia, OH to pick up a preloaded trailer going to Beaver Dam, WI. That load weighed in at 41,454 pounds. I picked up an empty trailer in Beaver Dam and deadheaded about 90 miles to Green Bay. By the time I picked up my next load in Green Bay the tank had dropped to 10.5 MPG.

We had set up an unofficial rule that a tank does not count unless it has at least 1400 miles on it. The load that I picked up in Green Bay had 44,440 pounds of paper rolls heading to Lebanon, OH on it. There were a couple of debates going on in my head. The first was to cut the tank short and fuel before I hit the IL line. The second was to take the tollway around Chicago, or do as I usually do and take US41 then I94 through downtown. I decided to fuel in Demotte, IN thus assuring that the tank had at least 1400 miles on it, and being able to take my 30 minute break at the same time. It was a risk, but I felt that taking the tollway instead, or fueling in WI would weaken the integrity of the number.

When I got to Demotte the tank had 1430.1 miles on it and the reading was 10.3 MPG. The tanks took 136 gallons. That figured out to 10.515 MPG. Mission accomplished. Two things that I have discovered help with MPG is to widen the band on my cruise control and to increase my following distance to 7 seconds. This allows the GPS predictive cruise control to do its thing while minimizing any effect from the collision mitigation system. I had been knocking on the door all spring and summer. It was good to finally knock it down.

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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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August 21, 2015