Imagine rolling down the road with your cruise control set and the scenery is flying by as you turn the miles along your set course.  All is right with the world of trucking for that moment and you are staring out the windshield thinking nothing could go wrong.  Just then you are proven wrong when your little yellow low-fuel light comes on and you suddenly realize that you are still a little ways away from your next fuel stop! 
 
Whether it is a miscalculation in trip planning, or just that you decided to push the limits of your truck a little further to get to a better place to fuel this time, you can bet that most drivers out there have come across this scenario at least once while driving out there.  When it does happen, it is amazing how fast you start to ponder if the previous 700+ miles could have been driven differently to have not spread your fuel so thin in the last final miles.  It is also surprising how quickly seeing this yellow light come on can turn you into the most fuel-efficient driver ever! 

I know that when I see this little yellow light come on, no matter how pressing a load I am under, I say a little prayer and begin to ease over hills a little gentler and lay off the accelerator pedal just a little bit more.  Thinking back to every close call I have ever had to running out of fuel, this has pretty much been the normal occurrence and pattern of events in each scenario.  I become a much more “fuel aware” in trying to make those last gallons of fuel (or diesel gallon equivalents for my CNG truck) stretch and get me to the next fuel stop without running out completely. 
 
Driving it like you stole it is probably on the opposite end of the fuel efficiency spectrum.  In driving like that you can be assured that fuel is going to go pretty fast as you’re mashing that motor along down the highway.  This is why I now am making an effort to try and mimic my driving patterns while low on fuel, when I am most conscious of my fuel usage, even when I am not even close to empty at all.  It is during those “seat clenching” moments that I feel I am paying the most attention to the fuel usage and stretching it out as far as it can go, so from now on I want to “Drive it like I’m running on empty” all the time!

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Jimmy Nevarez

Jimmy Nevarez is the Owner/President of Angus Transportation, Inc., based in Chino, California.  Jimmy pulls a 53' dry van hauling general dry freight for his own small fleet, operating on its own authority throughout all of Southern California and Southern Nevada.

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Jimmy awesome blog and I just ran into this with a time situation where I did not preplan correctly and thought I could make it to my pickup. Stopped 34 miles from my pickup for my 1/2 hour break biting my nail hoping to not be late!

September 05, 2016 6:02:12 AM