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11 Ways to Reduce Fuel Costs for Truck Drivers

Diesel Signage1) Shorten Your Idle Time

The more you can keep your truck turned off when it is not in use, the better mileage and fuel efficiency you will get.  On average, an idling truck with no load (or non-refrigerated load) will use 0.64 gallons of fuel per hour and 1.51 gallons of fuel per hour with a refrigerated load.  Cutting down your idle time can reduce your fuel costs significantly.


2) Buy the Right Fuel

Look for the ultra-low sulfur diesel to put in your truck to stay even more fuel efficient.

Image result for ultra low sulfur diesel


3) Decrease Your Average Speed

This one can be hard to do with the ELD mandate and 14 hour rule in place, but if you are able and have the time, lowering your speed can increase your fuel efficiency and effectively save you money at the pump.


4) Choose Efficiency Over Style

Trucks with big motors and loads of chrome look sweet but you have to ask yourself if it is worth the money you are sacrificing by reducing your mpg.  When choosing a truck, look for something that is aerodynamic and light.


5) Don’t Skip Regular Maintenance

Stay up to date on your maintenance to prevent anything from your truck causing you to lose your mpg.  Simple things like a dirty air filter, low or dirty oil can all impact your mpg negatively.


6) Tire Pressure

Having your tires under-inflated decreases your fuel efficiency and having your tires over-inflated wears your tires faster.  Check out an earlier post of ours, Lower Your Expenses by Keeping Truck Tires Inflated to the Correct Level, to learn more.


7) Plan Your Routes

Planning your routes out in advance can not only help reduce fuel costs but also helps get to your destination faster.


8) Side Skirts for Your Trailer

Side skirts are said to reduce your fuel costs 4 to 5%.  For simplicity, let’s say you spend $5,000 per month on fuel.  With side skirts, you would save somewhere between $200 to $250 per month or $2,400 to $3,000 per year.

The next question we need to know is if the amount of fuel savings takes covers the cost of a set of side skirts.  The answer is YES!  A set of side skirts is going to cost you roughly around $1,500.  If you are like most truckers, this is something that will pay for itself in less than a year.  You may want to seriously consider getting a pair.


9) Learn the Low Fuel Tax States

Knowing what states have the lowest fuel tax so you can fill up in them.  You also want to know the higher taxed states like Pennsylvania and Washington to make sure you avoid filling up your truck in those states.  See below the map (provided bytaxfoundation.org) with the fuel taxes associated with each state:


10) Watch the Prices

If know you need to stop for fuel in the next 100 miles, it can be helpful to see the prices for all truck stops in your upcoming route.  There a few different apps you can use but one of the more popular apps for checking prices is GasBuddy.


11) Use a Fuel Card

This is one of the most powerful tools you can have for saving money at the pump.  Every trucker must have some sort of fuel card.  Here at the American Association of Owner Operators (AAOO), all drivers (members or non-members) are welcome to use are fuel card for FREE!  Here are the benefits of using our fuel card:

  • 14 cents off per gallon average on fuel at more than 1,300 locations
  • Cash price ALWAYS (no matter if the truck stop is in our network or not)
  • Weekly credit lines as much as $2,500 per truck
  • No annual or interest fees and no fuel card contract
  • Free app that shows fuel prices in your area and the discount you will get with your card
  • Free credit alerts on more than 50,000 shippers and brokers

 To get the fuel card, fill out the short contact form below and we will send you information to your email and have one of our fuel card specialists contact you.

You can also call a fuel card specialist directly at (877) 914-5899.

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Kyle Mitchell
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