With 2,000 owner-operators and 11,100 company drivers, Schneider National is one of the largest carriers in North America. To stay ahead in the industry they teach their drivers how to drive for fuel efficiency to keep this variable cost low.
Here are Schneider’s top fuel efficiency tips from Rob Reich, VP of Maintenance Operations.
  1. Slow down. We set our trucks to cruise at 60 MPH. For every 1 MPH above 60, you will lose 1 percent MPG. This can add up to a minimum of $1,100 per year in unnecessary fuel costs. One of our owner-operators slowed down his speed by 10 MPH and realized he could take an extra 40 days off each year and make the same amount of money!
  2. Consider upgrading your truck. At Schneider we have tested all of the trucks in the market and have found that new trucks are becoming increasingly more aerodynamic. Manufacturers are focusing on fuel efficiency and are in compliance with Greenhouse Gas (GHG) environmental regulations. Look into the numbers and find out if a higher payment for a new truck will save you money, not only on maintenance but also on fuel. We have found that the Freightliner Cascadia Evolution with the Detroit engine is the most fuel-efficient truck on the market today. Freightliner continues to be our provider of choice because of their consistent performance, commitment to innovation, driver comfort, safety and fuel economy.
  3. Invest in trailer skirts. If you own a trailer, trailer skirts provide great fuel efficiency improvements for the best ROI (return on investment). For our fleet we have seen a 5-6% increase in MPG at highway speeds.
  4. Avoid Idling. Idling can cost thousands more on fuel alone per year. This doesn’t include the added engine maintenance expense that results from excessive idling, which is harder on your truck’s engine than highway driving.
  5. Maintain Your Tires. Maintaining proper inflation is free, relatively easy, and the highest cost-saving maintenance you can perform on your truck. Improper inflation is the greatest reason why tires fail or wear out prematurely. It also wastes fuel and weakens performance. Perform a daily pre- and post-trip inspection to check pressures, look for leaks, punctures, broken valve stems or embedded objects such as nails.
Follow these tips for fuel efficiency and you will see your fuel costs decrease and you will be able to keep more money in your pocket.

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Comment ()

what a great read....less mph means more mpg money in my pocket..i like pulling our skirted trailer .

January 23, 2016 10:45:03 AM

One thing about smart companies and trailer skirts is that they know that they only save money when they are moving down the highways behind their own equipment. We have a growing base of new skirted trailers amongst our fleet (200 last year), but how many times have I seen them being used by the terminals for storage trailers or being loaded on routes serviced by outside carriers whilst I'm waiting at the shop for some 10-15 years old trailer to be repaired for me to haul down the road. To maximize your fuel savings proper utilization of equipment is a must, but try to get that idea across when the people in control just see all trailers the same. I out of pocket purchased wheel covers that I switch onto the trailers that I haul just to try and pinch every bit of fuel economy.

March 12, 2015 14:11:35 PM

Its always about PM and Tires. Just can't go wrong with those two things. Also how about tithing up the gap between tractor and trailer.

August 07, 2014 5:17:41 AM

One thing I enjoyed about this article is that Schneider was used for the information.
One thing I have learned about Schneider, is they test and tweak all the time to try to improve mileage, and are not afraid to say what is good and bad. In general the faster you run, the worst your fuel mileage. Just remember that there is about a 3 to 4 mph window in top speed for mileage due to an engines sweet spot. I increased my mpg about .5 mpg going from 60 to 63. Seemed to be where the engine liked to run.

June 29, 2014 20:50:49 PM

As a new Schneider company driver I am having to learn some new habits. The hardest has to be operating at 59-60 mph!

June 23, 2014 11:15:39 AM

I own a 2006 Columbia with a 12.7 Detroit and a 10 speed overdrive mileage has been poor. When I get back home I'm getting an alignment on the front and rear axles and new steer tires..One steer is cupped on the inside edge so I'm pretty sure it's out of alignment and I'm sure that's part of the mpg problem. The other big contributor to poor mpg is the trans. I'm hoping to swap to a 13 speed this year to allow me to pull the hills easier.

June 20, 2014 14:59:50 PM

Helpful information, sharing money saving ideas is always welcome!

April 19, 2014 10:37:51 AM

really good advise at the moment iam waiting on my new 2015 Cascadia cant wait to put her to the test.!!! by the way does anyone know the exact date for the release of the Cascadia? all I was told was about 3wks. from to date.

March 31, 2014 11:02:23 AM

thanks for the info rob, very informative

March 09, 2014 13:02:15 PM

I have a Cascadia and only drive 55.I pull a company trailer with side skirts and I have an APU on my truck so I don't idle but I admit I don't enough attention to my tire pressures but I am going to take a conscious effort to pay more attention.thanks for the article.

December 31, 2013 17:07:48 PM

The insight from such a large stakeholder in the industry is very interesting.

December 11, 2013 8:11:37 AM

Great tips Rob. Thanks for sharing.

December 06, 2013 7:19:57 AM

Very nice article Rob. With so many Schneider trucks and trailers on the road, I wonder how much fuel and money Schneider National would save by making several of the small equipment modifications that Henry Albert has made to his vehicle. Two very easy ones come to mind, moving the trailer license plate out of the air stream and modifying the mud flaps for the tire size. Assuming 11,000 trailers moving all year, how much fuel would be saved in a year?

December 02, 2013 13:52:31 PM

I don't necessarilybelieve everything in this article. I drive a 2007 Freightliner with a Detroit 60. I slowed to 60-61mph and was getting about 6.2mpg. One while going through the southwest I decided to try 65 mph for awhile. I got up to 65 and about 1450rpm and my mileage went up to 7mpg. I kept experimenting with thisand discovered that this wasmy sweet spot. I've done alot of modifications to my truck and yes they worked, but I think you have to know your truck and what works best. You can't always use a blanket theory to make it work for every situation.

November 30, 2013 8:37:27 AM

Rob, thanks for sharing your tips with us.

November 22, 2013 13:25:08 PM

As a company driver I try to always shut down, rather than idle, when changing trailers. If you are doing a proper pre-trip and post-trip inspection, the fuel savings are great. Drivers who leave their truck running are probably the ones who don't bother to perform any inspections and end up broke down on the side of the road. I'd rather take 10-15 minutes pre and post, than spend 2-4 hours on the side of the road waiting for help.

November 22, 2013 7:02:31 AM

Nice piece Rob-When we go to shows we emphasize trailers-YES-We are representing The Evolution-and that is a significant investment, that pays off in the long run. When we can show owner ops that trailer skirts can pay for themselves in less than a year-the ears perk up.

November 20, 2013 6:46:58 AM


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About Rob Reich

Rob Reich, Vice President, Maintenance Operations, Schneider National.

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