As the price of fuel continues to go up, it may feel like your fuel surcharge keeps going less and less far (even if it continues to move up with fuel prices). There will always be several factors you have minimal control over with your expenses, but fuel is one thing that you can control (to a certain degree).

Here are some things that you can do to reduce your fuel costs right away:

  • Check your RPMs. Many times you hear the advice to lower your speed to save fuel. However, if your truck is geared to operate at high speeds then you need to be running at those high speeds. Play around with different RPMs to determine where your sweet spot is and try to operate at in that range of RPM.
  • Make sure your tires are inflated to the proper levels.  Having improperly inflated tires can increase the amount of rolling resistance that you have and reduce your fuel mileage.
  • Use Progressive shifting. Shift at low RPMS in order to reduce the amount of fuel used between switching gears.
  • Cut idle time. If you know it’s going to be hot over your 10-hour break, it may be cheaper for you to go park at a movie theater and see a movie for 2 to 3 hours than to idle for the same amount of time (keep in mind that this reduces wear and tear on your truck as well). 

Here are some additional ways you can boost fuel mileage. Some examples require an investment, but often times pay for themselves over the course of the year.

  • Consider getting an APU. If you are leasing your truck make sure that the lease paperwork allows you to have an APU installed in your truck. This can save you a significant amount of money both in fuel and in maintenance.
  • Consider purchasing low rolling resistance tires. The more surface area you have on the road, the more friction you have and the more fuel you burn.
  • Purchase trailer skirts. Trailer skirts can help reduce your air resistance, but only if you own your own trailer should you consider this option.  There are several types of wind resistance upgrades that you purchase for your truck or trailer. I recommend that you find the solutions that work best for you.    
  • Keep up with preventative maintenance. If your truck is not able to function properly then you will not be able to get the maximum fuel mileage.
  • Consider a truck upgrade. There have been several improvements to fuel efficiency since 2012. You may incur more of a payment for lease, but you will want to weigh that against potentially lower maintenance and reduce fuel cost as well.     

Small changes can make a big difference over the course of the year. There is no simple one size fits all method for boosting your fuel mileage, but with careful testing, you can find what works best for you and your truck. 

Comments (16)

Drew Kernosky

Drew is a Michigan native, but moved to Colorado in 2013. In 2012, he graduated from Western Michigan University’s Finance program with a concentration in Real Estate and a minor in Business Administration and Economics. He has held a variety of positions in the Real Estate industry and is currently working on his EA. Most recently he worked with Phoenix Financial Group as a Paralegal in their Tax Resolution Department. Drew joined ATBS in 2014 as a business consultant.

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It's amazing how PM can help boost fuel mileage, it also helps you catch any issues before you find yourself on the side of the road. It's all about small changes making a big difference.

August 06, 2014 20:46:42 PM

I preach the verities of preventative maintenance. You can't go wrong with maintaining a good quality tire at the right pressure. The two best things you can do is a good PM program and high quality tires.

August 06, 2014 19:42:43 PM

Our 2000 Classic series 60 could not touch 8 MPG without some serious, very expensive upgrades, most likely from Pittsburgh. It's just not an aerodynamic truck,
work as hard as we would ever want to on it, it would require some serious cash $$ to get that kind of fuel economy, at 80,000 Lbs.
Our 2012 Cascadia now has a 30 day ave of 8.08 MPG. We are pretty happy with that, the only upgrade being Michelin tires, The DD platform engines are performing really well, stock.

July 31, 2014 16:07:38 PM

Great article! My previous truck, a 2006 Classic with 60 Series Detroit was a far cry from this new Evolution and I keep tweaking and adjusting to maximize fuel economy. I've removed the stock fender mirrors and am looking at shifting the fuel tanks back a few inches to allow running my trailer closer to close the gap without overloading the front axle. Look forward to more tips.

July 16, 2014 17:01:30 PM

I hope to add an APU before it gets too hot. I have to get the full alignment and steer tires first and then save for the APU. I'm looking at Parks Industries HP2000. It has more hp, ways 70 lbs less and is cheaper than the tk. They can also install it in 5 hrs instead of two days.

June 20, 2014 15:09:18 PM

Jackie,
I would have to say that getting the same truck that started at 5.8 mpg up to 8.46 mpg is a major success story! Keep at it and I hope to hear more about your improvements in the future.

June 06, 2014 13:59:05 PM

I agree with everything listed above except for the buying of a new truck. Yes they are getting better but it's still not best to roll the dice on a new one unless you need to go to CA. Then if you have to buy a newer truck do your research. I've been working hard on my fuel economy for the past 7 years. I have gotten my truck from a yearly average of 5.8 to last years average of 8.46. Still improving too.

June 04, 2014 11:54:07 AM

Thank you great advice!!!!!!

June 01, 2014 14:05:55 PM

Helpful thx,like the point that low rpm's arn't always best

May 30, 2014 16:17:46 PM

Frank, you really have to know your truck. Typically all of the modern trucks get the best fuel mileage at the lowest RPM needed to maintain your required road speed. Older trucks typically run at a higher RPM.

May 30, 2014 8:03:14 AM

Great tips! Is there some sort of formula that can be followed to determine what the best speed/rpms are to maximize gas savings? Is it possible that the lowest rpms in each gear do not necessarily result in maximum fuel savings?

May 29, 2014 18:05:39 PM

Great tips!

May 29, 2014 15:49:46 PM

Thanks everyone! Another important thing to consider is that every dollar of expense you save goes right back into your pocket. Every additional dollar of revenue you earn gets picked apart by your expenses. Often times it is easier to make more money by cutting expenses instead of raising revenue!

May 28, 2014 11:22:49 AM

Having a GPS that is updated often helps in finding a movie theater or someplace to go and stay cool. Wandering around aimlessly is not good for fuel mileage. Good Tips

May 28, 2014 6:01:02 AM

WELL SAID GREAT ADVISE!!!

May 27, 2014 20:18:30 PM

Nice article Drew. Henry Albert is the perfect example of the points in your article. He has made several small changes that individually don't seem like much but really add up over time and miles.

May 27, 2014 8:48:42 AM