UEL ECONOMY IS A HOT ISSUE in the trucking business, often representing the difference
between success and failure for many owner-operators. Not only are diesel fuel prices
constantly increasing, but factors such as traffic congestion, weather and less-fuel-efficient
new diesel engines affect owner-operators' fuel economy numbers and bottom lines. According
to a recent eTrucker.com survey, 10 percent of respondents indicated their big rigs
receive 8 mpg or better, while experts claim even higher fuel economy numbers are achievable
through savvy operating practices and use of technology such as cruise control. Overdrive
magazine provides the following tips for boosting fuel economy in over-the-road trucks:
Speeds exceeding 60 mph start to cut into a truck's fuel economy. Every 1 mph past 60
mph cuts fuel efficiency by a tenth of a gallon per mile.
Efficient Driving Habits
According to Cummins, the most efficient drivers get 30 percent improved fuel efficiency
over the least efficient drivers, while a German pilot program claimed to achieve an
average 40 percent fuel economy improvement in heavy duty trucks after teaching drivers
basic skills such as optimal shifting, starting and braking.
Basic routine maintenance, such as engine tuning, can improve fuel economy numbers.
Keeping tires aligned and at at their proper air pressure is a standard maintenance
area that yields the most significant fuel economy benefits.
Although environmental laws are already taking aim at excessive truck idling, improved
fuel is another reason to put an end to this practice.
According to Cummins, every 2 percent reduction in aerodynamic drag yields about 1 percent
improvement in fuel economy. A truck running a 65 mph requires 264 horsepower to overcome
the physical forces slowing it down, and 55 percent of that is expended on wind resistance.
Simple add-ons such as integrated cab-high roof fairings, redesigned bumpers and mirrors,
low-rolling resistance tires, gap reducers and side skirts for trailers can work to
reduce drag and improve fuel economy.
Slowing driving speeds in order to maximize fuel economy provides truckers with incentives
to carefulkly plan their routes to ensure on-time delivery. this also provides opportunities
to minimize delays and wasted miles.
AMSOIL Synthetic Diesel Oils
The use of AMSOIL synthetic diesel oils is another excellent way for owner-operators
to reduce fuel expenses, while also improving equipment performance and reliability.
Independent tests show that the use of synthetic lubricants can increase fuel efficiency
by tow to five percent, while many AMSOIL customers report even larger gains.