6 Ways to Improve Fuel Efficiency in Your Semi-Truck

6 Ways to Improve Fuel Efficiency in Your Semi-Truck

The cost of trucking is more than $2 per mile, according to the American Transportation Research Institute. With that huge price tag, it’s important for truck drivers to optimize fuel efficiency. There are several effective strategies you can use to increase fuel efficiency out there on the road and save money for your or your company.

1. Maintain Proper Tire Pressure

One of the simplest yet most effective ways to improve fuel efficiency in a semi-truck is making sure your tires are properly inflated. Though it can feel like a hassle, regularly checking your tire pressure and inflating your tires to the manufacturer’s recommended levels is important. Properly inflated tires reduce rolling resistance, which can result in improved fuel efficiency and extended tire life.

2. Reduce Idling Time

Excessive idling significantly contributes to fuel wastage in semi-trucks. When a truck is idling for extended periods, it consumes fuel without covering any distance, leading to unnecessary expenses and increased emissions. You can minimize idling time by turning off the engine during rest breaks, whenever it’s safe and permissible to do so. Additionally, utilizing auxiliary power units (APUs) or truck stop electrification facilities can provide heating, cooling, and power without idling the main engine, further conserving fuel.

3. Practice Efficient Driving Techniques

Driver behavior has a direct impact on fuel efficiency. If you use fuel-efficient driving habits, it can lead to substantial savings. Unnecessary aggressive driving, such as rapid acceleration and heavy braking, can reduce fuel efficiency considerably. As much as possible, implement smooth acceleration, maintain a consistent speed, and avoid unnecessary idling to maximize fuel efficiency. 

4. Optimize Vehicle Maintenance

Regular maintenance is essential for ensuring optimal performance and fuel efficiency in semi-trucks. Schedule routine inspections and adhere to manufacturer-recommended maintenance intervals for components such as the engine, fuel system, air filters, and aerodynamic features. Addressing issues promptly, such as fixing faulty oxygen sensors or repairing air leaks in the braking system, can prevent fuel wastage and maximize efficiency. Additionally, using low-viscosity engine oils and ensuring proper wheel alignment can further improve fuel economy.

5. Plan Efficient Routes

Route planning plays a significant role in optimizing fuel efficiency for long-haul truckers. Utilize GPS navigation systems or route optimization software to plan the most direct and fuel-efficient routes. Minimize unnecessary detours, traffic congestion, and road construction delays whenever possible. By planning efficient routes, you can conserve fuel, reduce travel time, and enhance overall productivity.

6. Invest in Aerodynamic Upgrades

Aerodynamic drag is a significant factor that affects fuel efficiency, especially at higher speeds. If it’s in your budget, there are various aerodynamic upgrades out there for semi-trucks that can yield fuel savings over the long term. There are features like trailer skirts, side fairings, and roof deflectors to streamline airflow and reduce drag. For this step, there would obviously be upfront costs, but in the long run, you’d get fuel savings and improved performance.

Optimizing fuel efficiency in semi-trucks is essential for reducing operational costs and minimizing environmental impact. By implementing some or all of these strategies, you can significantly improve your fuel economy. If you would like to apply to drive with us, please check out our careers page today.