100 trucking efficiency tips


This is the 100th blog I have written since Jim Mele first asked me to be one of the “experts” in Fleet Owner’s IdeaXchange.  So, I have compiled a list of 100 fuel efficiency facts, tips and best practices.  Here we go!

  1. Paint your truck white to reduce thermal loading.
  2. Driver training and incentives effect fuel economy.
  3. 3% fuel savings with downspeeding.
  4. Pay attention to the powertrain as a whole.
  5. Talk with dealer salesperson about engine parameters.
  6. Don’t let fuel prices decide your efficiency investments.
  7. You lose very little productivity by slowing down.
  8. Sometimes something old can be something good. Think 6x2 axles.
  9. Keep your tires inflated. ALL of them.
  10. Shorten trade cycles; today’s trucks are much more efficient than those of five years ago.
  11. New technologies like AMTs can help with driver recruiting and retention.
  12. Driving 65 rather than 75 uses 15% less fuel.
  13. Rail, container and ships are improving their efficiency too.
  14. Not every fuel saving technology is right for every fleet.
  15. Set idle reduction goals.
  16. Encourage truck and engine makers to standardize engine parameter names.
  17. Smaller fleets and owner-operators are great resources - talk to Henry Albert or Steve Kron.
  18. Small, incremental gains in fuel efficiency are important.
  19. Pre-cool cabs before shutting down for rest breaks.
  20. Do you really need a 15-liter engine? Will a 13-liter one do the job?
  21. Not every truck needs two 150-gallon fuel tanks.
  22. Emissions regulations and driver amenities have added 1,000 pounds to the weight of a truck.
  23. Share your fuel economy stories.
  24. There is a strong connection between maintenance and fuel economy.
  25. Use total cost of operation, not just the purchase price, when buying features that save fuel.
  26. CONFIDENCE is key to the success of efficiency technologies.
  27. Transparent data and shared learnings help decision making.
  28. Efficiency is the new normal.
  29. GHGp2 provides an opportunity for OEMs to improve their product offerings.
  30. Blatantly copy fleets that are getting high mpg.
  31. Plan your parking, for instance, face away from the sun.
  32. Measure and track your mpg.
  33. Keep track of your loads.
  34. Slow down going into the wind, speed up a little when it’s behind you.
  35. Listen to the experts and act on what makes sense.
  36. Match mud flaps to tire width.
  37. Relocate license plates.
  38. Train drivers on proper use of APUs/Electric HVACs.
  39. Sleeper or day cab: aero matters.
  40. Spec reviews are critical.
  41. Continue to tweak specs.
  42. Address the parking problem.
  43. You need technology AND driver involvement.
  44. Be a fuel economy evangelist.
  45. Bring innovative thinking.
  46. Don’t forget practical solutions.
  47. Improved testing and validation is needed.
  48. Make a lifetime commitment to efficiency.
  49. Deal with all three drag areas on trailers.
  50. Look for tires that exceed EPA SmartWay rolling resistance requirements.
  51. Switch to a lower viscosity engine oil.
  52. Train drivers in fuel-efficient driving techniques.
  53. Encourage drivers to keep top speed in the low 60s.
  54. Stay up to date on fuel savings technologies.
  55. Wash trucks and trailers frequently.
  56. Fix loose bumper covers, fairings, skirts, etc.
  57. Match the outside diameters on dual tires.
  58. Get rid of unused clutter inside and outside of the truck.
  59. Give drivers as much visibility to upcoming loads as possible.
  60. Monitor MPG consistently — find patterns and outliers and act on them.
  61. Implement one new fuel savings idea every month.
  62. Add predictive cruise control.
  63. Spec aluminum wheels.
  64. Go to industry events and ask questions.
  65. Eliminate or reduce sleeper size.
  66. Optimize routing and scheduling.
  67. Use dedicated freight lanes.
  68. Consider electrification. 
  69. Take advantage of higher weight limits and LCVs, where legal.
  70. Reduce packaging and even take advantage of new ideas like 3D printing. 
  71. Openly share all the facts you can about what you’ve learned.
  72. Tests results can be precise and not accurate.
  73. Ask how the test results relate to real world operations.
  74. Manufacturers be more forthcoming about testing details as they apply to real world use.
  75. Weather, temperature, altitude affect fuel economy test results for the same vehicle.   
  76. Traffic affects vehicle performance and varies by route and trip.  
  77. Knowing your vehicle’s duty cycle is critical.  
  78. Winter conditions can alter the vehicle’s shape and weight from ice, snow and mud build up.  
  79. Be open minded to change – what about platooning?
  80. Tire rolling resistance improves with wear, its best fuel efficiency is at the end of its life.  
  81. Rolling resistance is impacted by road surfaces, weather, temperature and pressure.
  82. Trailer-to-tractor ratio may often be overlooked in reporting benefits of trailer devices.   
  83. Trailers that do not move do not improve their fuel economy with aero devices.
  84. Implement devices that have small fuel economy gains, their benefit will stack up.  
  85. Trailer aerodynamics rule of thumb; skirts/underbody, then tails, and finally gap reduction devices.  
  86. Go with recommended OEM vehicle configurations for aerodynamics.
  87. Aerodynamics on day cabs is far too often overlooked.
  88. Reduce lost time in yards or waiting for loads to get more miles.
  89. The combination of aerodynamic devices may be better or worse than the sum of each.
  90. Reduce empty back hauls.
  91. There are no reliable real-world methods to directly measure full-scale, on-road aerodynamics.
  92. Adjust results of SmartWay aero devices by one third to one half to get closer to the real-world.
  93. There are many ways to measure fuel economy, use them all.
  94. Road surfaces vary considerably in their friction impact on tire rolling resistance.
  95. Many fleets are switching 100% to AMTs
  96. More work needs to be done on truck stop electrification
  97. Technology is shrinking the driver’s influence on fuel economy.
  98. Fleets can save between 2,000 and 4,000 lbs. by investing in lightweight components.
  99. Make sure tractors and trailers are aligned to see fuel savings of 3% to 11%
  100. Success for us is continuing to help fleet cut fuel bills significantly.

By Michael Roeth

Source: FleetOwner