On-Road Conservation 101
10 fuel-saving tips for diesel truck operators
Drivers of millions of passenger, delivery, and emergency vehicles and off-road machines and equipment in the United States rely on diesel engines and fuel. The Diesel Technology Forum (DTF) says it is the most energy-efficient internal combustion engine, getting the best value for each fuel dollar spent.
“Diesel is the lifeblood of the global economy, reflecting its dominance across key sectors like goods movement, agriculture, transportation, and industrial uses. The newest generation of advanced diesel technology, standard in commercial trucks on the road since 2011 and farm and construction equipment since 2014, achieves near zero emissions and is more fuel efficient,” says DTF Executive Director Allen Schaeffer.
With diesel fuel prices on the rise, it is a good time to remember a few basic steps that you can take to save fuel and money. DTF offers the following tips for diesel vehicle owners and truckers to reduce fuel consumption.
- Watch your speed. You increase diesel fuel consumption for every mile per hour (mph) you drive over 55 mph. Above 55 mph, each one mile per hour increase in speed decreases fuel economy by 0.1 miles per gallon.
- When practical, use cruise control for smoother driving. Advanced cruise control systems are predictive. They optimize engine and travel speed based on the load and can dramatically boost efficiency.
- Operate your truck in the highest possible gear, and reduce engine RPMs, to reduce fuel consumption.
- Shut it down. Don’t idle if it isn’t necessary. Idling burns about 3/4 gallon of diesel fuel per hour in a Class 8 tractor-trailer size truck. It also accelerates engine wear and tear.
- Review your routes and trip timing. Take a fuel-efficient route if possible, avoiding construction delays. Driving at off peak times helps to avoid congestion and delays.
- Maintain proper tire pressure. For every 10 pounds per square inch (psi) a tire is inflated under recommended settings, trucks will lose 1% of their fuel economy. Underinflated tires also lead to diminished tread life and tire failure.
- Perform preventive maintenance on the suggested schedule. Proper maintenance such as oil and air filter changes can help maximize fuel efficiency.
- Turn off accessories when they aren’t needed.
- Consider upgrading your vehicle. New advanced technology diesel vehicles are more fuel-efficient than older generations.
- Utilize blends of high-quality biodiesel fuels when possible. All available diesel models are compatible with blends of up to 20% high-quality renewable biodiesel fuels (and 80% regular petroleum diesel). These high-quality diesel replacement fuels are available at a growing number of locations nationwide. These low-carbon biofuels help reduce greenhouse gas and other emissions.
The Diesel Technology Forum is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness about the current and future role of diesel engines, equipment, and fuels. Forum members are leaders in advanced diesel technology, emissions controls and petroleum-based and renewable biofuels. For more information, visit dieselforum.org.