Maintaining fuel economy is an essential component of working in the trucking business. Each semi-truck can hold 160 to 300 gallons of fuel. Hence, filling up the tank very often is not cheap. Most semi-trucks are built to have the same kind of energy efficiency. But, exactly how fuel-efficient is your truck? And can you increase its efficiency? Let’s have a look at everything you need to know about most fuel efficient truck!
Is Your Semi Truck Fuel Efficient?
Before even trying to make your truck fuel-efficient, it is imperative to know how well your vehicle manages fuel. In other words, there are two aspects to this. The first is to know the fuel tank capacity of the truck, and the second is to determine the mileage provided by the semi-truck. Information about the former can be acquired from the owner manual itself. After that, you can make use of the following algorithm to ascertain these values.
- Step 1: Fill up the fuel tank before you start the journey. Note down the quantity of gas and the reading on the odometer.
- Step 2: On your journey, when you stop for fuel again, you could note down the same things in the tracking sheet. This would again include the odometer reading and the amount of gas used to fill up the fuel tank.
- Step 3: With the two sets of data included, you could calculate the number of miles that your car traveled. All you need to do for this subtract the values taken from Step 1 and Step 2.
- Step 4: Finally, calculate the fuel efficiency by dividing the effective number of miles the car drove by the total amount of fuel used. This gives the net fuel efficiency for your semi-truck or the number of miles the car travels per gallon of fuel.
- Step 5: The other necessary calculation here is the number of miles the semi-truck can travel with a full tank of gas. The idea is simple. You fill up the tank to the full like before and keep a tab on the number of miles traveled. Finally, you could average out these values for the final result.
While following the steps above can give you a decent idea about the fuel efficiency of your semi-truck, that is not the end of the story. There are a lot of external factors that determine how well your vehicle uses fuel. For instance, consider driving on a dry and plain land area on a sunny day. It is expected that the truck would move smoothly and use lesser fuel. On the other hand, driving on a rainy day or an uphill land could be more troublesome. This eventually leads to an increase in fuel consumption. Some of the factors like weather, terrain, tire pressure, engine air intake, and the likes have a significant effect on the truck’s efficiency.
How To Make Your Semi-Truck Fuel Efficient?
- Check your speed
You do not really focus on speed while looking for higher energy efficiency in your vehicle. But this is one of the most important factors concerning fuel consumption. Technically if you increase your speed by 1 mph, the efficiency of your vehicle goes down by 0.14 miles per gallon. So, the more you increase your speed, the more will be your fuel consumption.
Does that mean your truck should never take up speed? Ideally, it is best to drive at an optimum speed. Anything above the maximum speed would lead to a massive fall in fuel efficiency. The maximum speed that you can use is 65 mph. If you increase it by 10mph, you will cause a drop in fuel efficiency by 27%. This speed proves to be decent and sufficient for traveling safely on highways, as well as saving gas.
- Manage the tire pressure
Keeping tabs on the tire pressure is an easy way to maintain fuel economy. What do you have to do? You check for tire pressure and air them up every time before you start a trip. This might be a tedious job, considering semi-trucks have multiple tires, but it does contribute to significant savings in the future. If your tires are underinflated, it could cost you a lot. For instance, if the tires are underinflated by 10 psi, it decreases the mileage by 1%. And this decrease is caused by a single underinflated tire alone.
What are the guidelines here? Technically, you cannot keep tire pressures below 60 psi. This is to ensure the safety of the truck driver and the surrounding vehicles. But to reduce the consumption of fuel, it is best to maintain the pressure at 110 psi.
- Notice the weight
Adding a few extra pieces of baggage to the semi-truck is usually not considered to be a big deal. But the more the weight, the more is the pressure on the truck and more is the fuel consumption. If you are traveling with an overloaded truck, the vehicle is likely to be running on low energy efficiency. So, as far as possible, try to keep the truck light or at least within the weight capacity. Beyond that, you are losing out slowly when it comes to fuel economy.
- Refrain from overfilling your tank
It is a good idea to be starting in the mornings with a full fuel tank. While this might seem reasonable and practical, there is a flip side to it. Out in the sun, the fuel expands and can overflow. This leads to a loss of gas while you are on the move. Apart from that, it also poses safety issues for the truck. So, it is best to fill the tank to a certain extent, leaving the extra room without filling it to the brim.
- Focus on braking techniques
If your semi-truck is subjected to frequent sudden stops and acceleration, you are in for trouble. If you bring your vehicle to a sudden stop, it takes a lot of fuel to start again. The idea is to use the car’s braking system wisely and avoid sudden stops or starts.
Simple steps like checking the tire pressure, braking smartly, driving at the right speed contribute towards saving fuel for your semi-truck. This, in turn, leads to a better fuel economy.