10 Ways to Tackle High Gas Prices
U.S. gas prices have hit an all-time high, with no relief in sight. As of the week of August 29, 2022, the national average price for diesel fuel is around $5.15 per gallon, and California prices are hovering around $6.25 per gallon. With one fill-up costing upwards of $750, based on the size of the fuel tank, truckers and trucking companies are feeling the pain.
Fleets must drive many miles each year delivering goods from point A to point B for consumers and businesses alike, but luckily there are ways to improve fuel efficiency. These might include things like promoting good driving habits, conducting regular truck maintenance to improve fuel efficiency, and using fleet management technology designed to help save money at the pump.
Here are 10 tips to help truckers and fleet operators beat high gas prices.
1 – Reduce Engine Idling
Letting an engine run for extended periods when the truck isn’t moving wastes fuel and increases engine wear. One hour of idling burns approximately one gallon of fuel, according to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). Heavy traffic congestion is one major cause of idling, but many truckers keep their trucks idling during rest stops to power air conditioning, heaters, lights, etc., in their living space. Idling during extreme temperatures is a common practice to help drivers eliminate difficulties with restarting the diesel engine.
An engine that idles for more than 10 seconds uses more fuel than it takes to restart the vehicle. To combat these fuel consumption issues, fleet managers can:
- Encourage drivers to shut off the engine during breaks to reduce idling time without compromising driver comfort or vehicle operations.
- Installing auxiliary power units, cab and bunk heaters, and idle reduction technologies that reduce the time an engine idles unnecessarily can help save fuel and reduce emissions.
2 – Use Apps To Find Cheaper Fuel Options
Apps, whether used on a cell phone, tablet, or other device, have become part of everyday life, and they are even useful when it comes to driving. There are now multiple apps that incorporate navigation systems, or GPS trackers, to help keep drivers on the right roads and can help save on fuel by finding the shortest and fastest routes. By utilizing GPS data, the right apps can help drivers find the lowest fuel prices.
Google Maps and Waze, both mapping apps, not only guide users but also give them the option to see gas prices along the selected route. GasBuddy, a GPS-based free app that has helped millions of motorists locate gas stations and find the lowest prices, is also useful for truckers.
Truckers can use the app to find the best diesel fuel prices. Fuel-finder apps and tools specifically designed for the trucking industry include Truck Master and Trucker Path, which use a database of truck stops across the U.S. to display prices.
3 – Use Fuel-Efficient Driving Practices
Erratic and aggressive driving can lower fuel economy by 15%–30% at highway speeds and 10%–40% in stop-and-go traffic. Unsafe driving practices like rapid acceleration, sudden braking, and speeding can take a big chunk of a truck company’s profits by increasing fuel consumption.
Fuel-efficient driving strategies include:
- Maintaining a steady speed.
- Accelerating gently and coasting to decelerate.
- Leaving plenty of distance between other vehicles (don’t tailgate).
- Avoiding congested areas.
4 – Avoid Driving During Rush Hour
Long-haulers don’t always have the luxury of avoiding rush hour traffic, and some cities seem to have 24-hour rush hours – think Vegas and New York City – but stop-and-go traffic can put a damper on diesel fuel mileage. Plan ahead to minimize the time spent on crowded highways.
Know when rush hour hits the cities along the travel route and plan rest breaks during the busy times, or use a GPS to route around heavily traveled roads. Deploy highway condition technology like Drivewyze Safety+ that provides drivers real-time slowdown and congestion alerts to help keep trucks out of congestion and on schedule.
5 – Keep An Eye On Tire Pressure
Properly inflated tires might be one of the most overlooked yet most important ways to improve fuel economy and stay safe. Under-inflated truck tires can lower gas mileage by about 0.2% for every one psi drop in the average pressure of all tires.
Proper tire inflation can improve gas mileage by up to three percent. Maintaining correct tire pressure also reduces tire wear, improves handling, and decreases the risk of blowouts, flats, and incidents.
6 – Apply Your Brakes Moderately
Sudden braking is usually followed by rapid acceleration, negatively impacting fuel economy, and it is also indicative of speeding, another gas-guzzling driving habit. Driving sensibly by allowing room to coast for deceleration and then moderately applying brakes to bring the vehicle to a complete stop is a safe and fuel-efficient driving practice.
7 – Engage Cruise Control When Possible
The cruise control feature in a semi can help ease stress, improve comfort for the driver, and save on fuel costs. Drivers who use cruise control minimize speed changes that can degrade the fuel economy.
8 – Keep Your Fleet Well-Maintained
Increase fuel savings by keeping every vehicle in the fleet at peak performance. Follow the recommendations in the owner’s manuals to ensure each truck is safe and runs efficiently. Regular tune-ups, including oil changes, cleaning or changing the air filter, replacing spark plugs, etc., can increase MPGs and fuel economy.
9 – Purchase Fuel-Efficient Trucks When Upgrading Your Fleet
Save money and help the environment by replacing old trucks with new fuel-efficient models. Evaluate the fuel consumption for each vehicle and phase out older, less efficient vehicles first. Add aerodynamic devices to limit wind resistance, improve airflow, and boost fuel efficiency.
Check for options for trucks that use alternative fuel sources. Upgrade to light trucks with smaller engines and components. Lighter trucks reduce rolling resistance and drag. Just a 10% reduction in vehicle weight can improve fuel economy by 6% to 8%.
10 – Use Drivewyze PreClear to Bypass Weigh Stations
Turn to North America’s largest weigh station bypass service and keep your trucks moving. Conserve fuel and minimize downtime by skipping the lines at weigh stations and inspection stations at nearly 1,000 sites in almost every U.S. state and many Canadian provinces. Drivewyze PreClear integrates with the tools fleets already use, like ELDs and mobile devices, and does not require a transponder.
Read how one trucking company saves hundreds of gallons of fuel and thousands of dollars in operating costs every quarter using PreClear.
Drivewyze Gets You There
Save gas and time and protect your drivers with Drivewyze: the leader in connected truck services. Drivewyze serves commercial drivers and fleets with innovative trucking services such as the Drivewyze PreClear bypass service and Drivewyze Safety Notifications. Contact us today to discover how you can become part of the Drivewyze community.