Saving on fuel costs is a great way to increase the profitability of your operation. By driving more smoothly, making sure your truck tires are in good shape, avoiding idling when you don’t have to, and a few other key driving practices, you can increase the fuel efficiency of your truck, especially on long hauls. So start implementing these five driving practices today and keep track of how much money you save on fuel.
1. Cut Down on Idling
A great way to save on fuel is to limit the amount you idle when stopped. While you don't want to turn off your truck while sitting at a stop sign, traffic light, or waiting to make a turn, shutting the engine down while pulled over or sitting at a delivery or pickup location can have an impact on your truck’s overall fuel consumption. Instead of idling you can look into purchasing an auxiliary power unit for your truck.
: The Real Cost to Idle
2. Use Progressive Shifting
Instead of winding each gear out to its maximum RPMs, consider using a minimum of engine revs by shifting into a higher gear sooner. By shifting into the next higher gear as it enters the torque range for revolutions, you can actually save on fuel.
3. Preserve Momentum
Another great way to save fuel is to use the downward momentum created when driving downhill. The ideal way to drive is to crest a hill at less than full speed, and then use the downward momentum as you head down the opposite side to gain the speed back that you lost climbing the hill. Then the downward journey becomes a balance between safety and gathering speed, all while giving you added fuel efficiency.
One great way to control your momentum while traversing hills while driving is to use the cruise control. This allows you to maintain a set speed as long as it is within the engine's power to do so and the grade is not too much for the powertrain to contend with. Modern cruise controls can even contend with a reduction in speed by using something called droop, which allows for a reduction in speed without the need for a surge in power to get that lost speed back.
4. Anticipate the Traffic Flow
While driving in traffic, try to anticipate the ebb and flow of the cars around you. This allows you to accelerate and decelerate more smoothly, which uses less gas. To better accomplish a smoother operation of your vehicle, leave plenty of space in front of your vehicle and monitor traffic two or more vehicles ahead.
Also anticipate traffic lights to help you stop more smoothly and avoid giving it too much gas when going on a green light. The smoother you can control the accelerator, the more gas you can potentially save while driving.
5. Properly Inflate the Tires
One of the easiest ways to improve your fuel efficiency is to inflate your truck’s tires properly before heading out for the day. In addition to reducing the tread life of your truck tires, an underinflated tire can cut fuel economy by up to one percent per 10 psi below recommended air pressure levels, according to EPA SmartWay. Driving on underinflated tires also increases the risk of a puncture or damaged sidewall.