Save Fuel, Save Money

December 23, 2011

The cost of fuel affects every driver's bottom line in the end, company driver and owner-operator alike. While this is obvious for the owner-operator, company drivers receive fuel bonuses that are tied to the fuel used during a set period, generally a quarter. By finding the average fuel mileage of the truck and adjusting driving habits to increase that mileage, the driver will save money that will increase that paycheck going home.

The biggest cost for fuel is that burned during the times the truck is idling. It is estimated that Class 8 tractors use 0.8 gallons of fuel per hour when idling (http://www.transportation.anl.gov/pdfs/TA/373.pdf), and over time, this cost adds up.

If a driver is parked 14 hours each day and the truck is left idling, the driver will use 11.2 gallons of diesel, with no miles traveled. If the driver averages 5 miles per gallon (a low estimate with today's modern engines), the driver will lose 56 miles worth of fuel at a cost of $44.80 when fuel prices are at $4.00/gallon. If the driver is on the road just 200 days a year, that is a loss of $8,960.00 for the owner. Drivers can save that money, however, by following a few simple steps.

Save Fuel, Save Money

1. When getting out of the truck, turn it off. Many drivers leave their truck running to keep the interior warm or cool, depending on the season. Unless the driver is going to be gone several hours and has a lot of auxiliary units, such as electric coolers, turning the truck off for an hour will not result in an uncomfortable interior when returning.

2. Invest in a generator for shore power. These units, known as auxiliary power units, provide heating and cooling, as well as electricity, at a much lower fuel cost per hour and will also save on maintenance costs for that big engine under the hood.

3. If a generator is out of the question, check into a service like Idle-Air. This company provides shore power, heating and cooling for truckers at a cost of about $1.25/hour for those who use the service for a continuous 10 hour period. Using the unit also allows much better rest, since without the engine idling, the cab stays perfectly still, and the driver is not constantly in motion while sleeping. Fleet and driver discounts are offered, and some companies did allow drivers to pay for the service with their fuel card in the past; drivers interested in checking out the service can do so at http://www.idleair.com.

There are other ways to save on fuel costs; opting into a company's fuel network often results in great savings for the owner-operator. Keeping up the maintenance on the truck also decreases the amount of fuel used, as does that age-old adage, slow down. Figuring out the truck's average mileage and its optimal operating speed are not difficult, and can result in big savings that add up to a big paycheck in the end.

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(800) 240-5811
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Trucker To Trucker, LLC 13330 SR 17 Culver, IN 46511