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Top Ways to Cut a Top Cost for Trucks

There is at least one thing that every single person that owns or operates a heavy truck has in common.  This is something that none of them have control over and they can’t operate without it.  This commonality is of course the rising cost of diesel fuel.

Diesel fuel is by far and away the “life blood” of the heavy truck industry. On average, commercial carriers consume over 38 billion gallons of diesel fuel to move over 10 billion tons of freight annually. Diesel fuel represents the highest expense of a trucking company other than labor costs and can account for up to 25% of the total operating costs of a singleBUSINESS.

We, as every day working citizens of this great country, have seen fuel prices, not just diesel, fluctuate up and down more times than we can count over the last few years. So if none of us can control the price per gallon cost of one of our biggest expenses, what can we control?  There are things that every owner/operator of a heavy truck can do to decrease their own use of fuel thus saving on total dollars spent on this liquid gold commodity.

Whether you have been doing it for years and are looking for new ideas or maybe you are wanting to start and don’t know where.  This is scoured the globe for experts to share with them 121 ways to save on fuel.  From the equipment you spec and maintain, to the fuel youBUY, to driver training and incentives, you’ll find tips for nearly any type of fleet.

These are a few of my favorites:

6. Right Size the Engine – Engine displacement as well as torque and horsepower requirements should be carefully considered, as more than one combination may work for you. Resist over spec’ing in size and power except in harsh environments where extra durability could be to your advantage.

48. Watch out for Fuel Quality – Fuel quality should be carefully considered, according to J.J. Keller. “If you are consistently getting poor fuel mileage from fuel purchased at one vendor, when compared to another, consider trying to locate a better fuel source.”

86. Invest in Driver Training – The difference between your worst and best drivers can be as much as 30%. Automated transmissions can certainly help bring poor to mediocre drivers up to near expert level, but shifting is only one part of a driver’s duties. Fleets that forego aggressive driver training programs in favor of automation are missing out on many other fuel-saving opportunities.

121. Keep the Truck in Shape – Make sure PMs are done on schedule, the alternator’s charging the batteries, and the cables and connections are clean and healthy. That way the engine will start when you want it to and you won’t have to idle it to be sure. Poor chassis lubrication, filter restrictions, etc. can increase engine load and waste fuel. Leaks in the fuel system are a prime example of a maintenance issue reducing fuel mileage.  This goes for all sizes of fleet vehicles. Fleet management company PHH Arval says keeping fleet vehicles well tuned can improve overall gas mileage by an average of 4% per vehicle, and that replacing a faulty oxygen sensor can improve mileage by as much as 40%.