More than you might think.  First, the cost of fuel is something we can control and the better our fuel mileage the more money we keep in our pocket.  Second, in a team operation when striving for good fuel mileage the truck is driven smoother.

Each time we stop or we use our engine brake we use fuel.  When leaving from a dead stop extra fuel is used to get up to speed and if we stop at the bottom of a hill or have to climb to get up to speed we use more fuel.  When leaving from a complete stop or after slowing down the easier we are on the throttle the less fuel we use.  Hence our sleeping partner is not rolling back and forth in the bed as we change gears or the throttle is mashed to the floor. 

When in traffic anticipating what the vehicle in front of us will do, when we have to change lanes, or get off of the interstate on an exit ramp we can keep our speed steady or slow down slowly.  Saves on fuel and our sleeping partner continues to sleep like a baby.  Looking ahead also lets us react to a problem before it becomes a problem.  A friend of mine once said that you can tell a good driver by the fact the good driver never puts themselves in a predicament that they need to be a good driver.   This mind set also saves on fuel and allows our partner to sleep well.

Learning to get better fuel mileage through driving is an ongoing learning process.  There are always ways to fine tune how we drive and how we react and a lot of this comes with experience.  Recently Henry Albert  participated in the Run on Less event and some of the tricks they used to get better fuel mileage a book could be written about.  One tip I heard was that when a trainer had a student he would tape a toilet paper roll to the throttle and he expected that toilet paper roll to not be smashed when the student was done driving.  Gives a little more meaning to drive as if you have an egg under your foot.

In our Cascadia, we can watch the bar graph on the dash for a quick readout of how we are doing as well as see our current fuel mileage which is pretty accurate when we figure miles driven.  Recently a Pedal Coach was added to our truck as another barometer to measure how we drive that works off of the ECM.  More on that in a later blog.

Over all the better our fuel mileage the better we sleep at night, the better our partner sleeps as we go down the road, and the less wear and tear on the truck.  Fuel prices are low now but they will go up and our practice now will increase our profit in the future. 

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I like the idea of drive like your partner is sleeping in the bunk. MPG is a matter of forward momentum management. Anticipate and never put yourself in a position where you will have to do anything sudden. That and every maintenance manager that I talk to agrees that their higher MPG drivers are also their lowest cost of maintenance drivers.

October 14, 2017 4:57:39 AM

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About Linda Caffee

Bob and Linda have been team drivers since 2005 as expediters. They are leased to Landstar Express America. Bob was a diesel mechanic for twenty years before doing over the road and Linda worked in the courthouse.

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