10 Ways To Improve Fuel Efficiency In Your 18-Wheeler Truck Fleet

18-Wheeler Truck Fleet Fuel Efficiency

Many expenses come with the management of an 18-wheeler truck fleet. While you have to pay for maintenance, financing, insurance, and taxes, fuel is one of the biggest expenses you’ll have to focus on. Without fuel, your fleet is unable to move forward; thus, it’s an essential part of your business. Improving your operation's fuel efficacy can help reduce the fuel cost to your business. We’ll look at 10 of the best strategies you can use in heavy-duty trucks. 

1. Regular Maintenance On Trucks

Maintenance is incredibly important for 18-wheeler trucks. Many mechanical and technical faults can occur, and when these issues are not addressed promptly, they can become costly problems in the long run. In addition to maintenance, regularly taking your truck fleet to professionals for a tune-up can also prove to be beneficial. Research has shown that regularly going for a vehicle's engine tune-up can improve fuel efficiency by about 4%. Even though this sounds like a small percentage, consider the impact that it can have on your annual fuel costs. 

2. Reduce The Usage Of The A/C

When temperatures rise outside, truck drivers often turn to the built-in air conditioning system in these 18-wheelers to cool down. While the A/C unit of the truck is convenient, it also uses up fuel in order to operate. It is crucial to set up regulations about the usage of the A/C in your heavy-duty trucks. Be sure to have regular meetings with the drivers to discuss this particular subject, as greater adherence to the regulations you implement may also help reduce fuel usage. You could consider options like portable fans that drivers can use to cool down on the road. 

3. Follow Speed Limits Of The Roads

Speeding is a significant concern not only when it comes to the safety of drivers and pedestrians but also in terms of fuel usage. The faster a truck goes, the more fuel it uses, ultimately affecting the overall fuel economy. 

This is why strict regulations in terms of maximum speed are essential when managing a heavy-duty truck fleet. Limiting heavy trucks' driving speed to about 65 miles per hour is generally recommended. This can help to cater toward fuel efficiency within your fleet and improve the safety of your drivers. 

4. Monitor Tire Inflation

Tires that are not properly inflated can also be a reason for increased fuel usage, yet it’s an often overlooked fact. Tires can lose some of their inflation while on the road, especially with some of the longer trips. 

Make sure drivers regularly check the tires on these trucks. When inflation is required, they must ensure the tires are inflated at the next truck stop. The drivers should also inspect the tires for signs of punctures and wear, as these factors can affect inflation. 

5. Optimize Your Routes

Sometimes, the route your drivers take is not the most efficient one that is available. Going back and taking a closer look at your current routes from time to time is a good idea. It helps you observe any roads that are causing your drivers to use more fuel than needed. When you sign new clients, it’s essential to see if there are ways to optimize your routes better to serve them. 

6. Take Advantage Of Cruise Control

Cruise control is a function that many modern-day heavy-duty trucks offer, and it can improve the regulation of speed. By keeping a consistent speed on the road, cruise control can significantly improve your trucks' fuel efficiency. 

7. Implement Weight Limitations For Cargo

The more weight your trucks carry, the higher fuel consumption you will note. It is essential to consider how much cargo you allow in each truck simultaneously and consider whether a reduction in weight limits could help with fuel efficiency. 

8. Take Note Of Any Aggressive Driving

Aggressive driving is a concern not only among regular drivers but also truckers. This type of driving is described as rapid acceleration, speeding, and then followed by braking. Research has shown that aggressive driving can result in lower fuel efficiency. In fact, it can reduce the gas mileage achieved by as much as 30% in some cases.

It’s essential to keep an eye on your fleet as they drive. If you have a remote monitoring system in place, use it to identify patterns of aggressive driving, then address this issue with the driver. 

9. Don’t Idle At A Rest Stop

Idling at a rest stop is a common habit among truck drivers that is further causing an increase in fuel consumption. Even though little fuel is used while idle, it still counts up and can become a significant expense when looking at the fuel burnt during a one-year period.

10. Be Wary Of Heaters

Some trucks also come with built-in heaters that use diesel to generate heat. These are heavy on fuel in many cases - similar to the A/C. If your heavy-duty trucks contain this particular function, make sure you implement methods that help you regulate the use of these heaters among truck drivers. You could allow truck drivers to utilize the heaters only in specific scenarios or introduce alternatives, such as portable heaters that are powered by batteries. 

A Final Word

Improving the fuel efficiency in a fleet of 18-wheeler trucks can significantly impact your business's profitability. There are many steps that you can take, including regular maintenance. Integrity Fleet Services understands how important it is to have your trucks on the road, which is why our experts work fast to get problems fixed quickly. We also help with servicing your 18-wheeler trucks to keep them in working condition and to reduce the hazards of technical and mechanical faults. Reach out to schedule an appointment or to get advice from our professionally trained staff. 

References

https://www.fleetio.com/blog/fleet-management-cost-analysis

https://afdc.energy.gov/conserve/vehicle_maintenance.html 

https://fueleconomy.gov/feg/factors.shtml

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