How to Improve Semi Truck Fuel Efficiency

While semi trucks aren’t exactly known for having superior fuel efficiency, there are steps you can take to conserve diesel while you’re on the open road. No matter who’s paying for semi truck fuel use, it’s always best to take steps to not only conserve gas, but steps to save the environment as well.

Watch Your Weight

You can most certainly haul more than other vehicles you share the road with, but carrying more than necessary digs into your diesel mileage. Before heading out, be sure to double-check your load to ensure it’s not more than what your truck is designed to carry. You should also take a look inside your cab to see if you have anything inside that might add more weight.

Keep an Eye on Your Speed

Pushing the speed limit might get you to your destination faster, but doing so will empty your tank faster as well. You can slow your speed down to better conserve fuel manually by reducing the pressure on the pedal, or you can put your truck’s ECM to good use to help you out. Another reason to keep your speed at or below the speed limit is so you don’t risk getting a ticket and tarnishing your driving record, which could cost you in more ways than one.

Keep Your Truck Tires Properly Inflated

As you look over your load to ensure it’s not too much, check your tires to see that they’re properly inflated to improve fuel economy. Just like with a regular automobile, you don’t want your truck’s tires to be under or overinflated. That being said, you might need a bit of overinflation during the colder months of the year when frigid air can shrink the air in your tires. On a related note, be sure to act promptly when you notice tires that seem to lose pressure often, as they can negatively impact your ride as well as your fuel economy.

Accelerate Gently

When you’re ready to get going, ease into accelerating rather than smash the pedal down. Rapid acceleration tends to overwork the engine, which eats away at fuel. You want your truck to glide forward rather than lurch forward. There’s also the fact that shotgunning might put drivers around you in danger should you need to react quickly after kicking into warp drive.

Idle Only When You Have To

When you realize you’re going to be parked somewhere a while, it’s better that you turn the engine off rather than let it idle, as doing so wastes diesel. While you most certainly don’t want to shut the engine off when you’re in the middle of a traffic jam, you also don’t want to leave it going when you’re parked at a rest stop or otherwise when you’re likely going to hop out of the truck soon.

Think Beyond the Engine

The performance and condition of your truck’s engine are most certainly essential to semi truck fuel mileage, but don’t forget about the components of the engine. For instance, you’ll want to take a look at the air filters as well as the air intake and exhaust systems. Are there any leaks in the after-cooling piping? There might also be blown turbo or manifold gaskets that could be eating away at your overall efficiency.

Use the Right Fuel and Oil

When it comes to maximizing fuel efficiency, the type of diesel that keeps your truck running makes a huge difference. Know that the seasons will dictate the type of fuel as well as the type of oil you put into your truck. During the winter, you want thicker fuel and 10w30 oil for every season except the most sweltering of summers.

Speaking of having the right fuel for your truck, it’s important you not overfill your tank when it’s time to refuel. The reason this is important is because high temperatures can lead to fuel expanding in the tank, which can lead to it overflowing, which is essentially wasted money and wasted fuel. Something else to think about is the fact that all that extra fuel can also act as extra weight, which you now know is exactly what you don’t want if you’re looking to get as many miles as possible from your truck’s fuel.

Stay in a Higher Gear When Possible

Yet another move to make when it comes to boosting your truck’s overall fuel efficiency is stay in a higher gear whenever possible. When you gradually increase or decrease your speed rather than coming to a complete stop or speeding up faster than absolutely necessary, you don’t have to switch gears as much, which doesn’t burn as much fuel.

Bring out the best in your truck’s fuel economy and extend the life of your vehicle by taking steps to save gas. See how much better trucking can be with the help of the above tips.

Owner Operator Truck Insurance 101

So you’ve made the decision to become an owner and operator rather than work for another company. Congratulations are most certainly in order, but you’ll want to proceed with caution to maximize the opportunity before you. One of the first tasks to take care of is to secure owner operator insurance. Just like insuring your car or your health is intended to bring you peace of mind, the same applies to getting insurance for your truck as well as your new business.

Don’t Rely on Your Broker or Insurance Agent 100 Percent

While insurance brokers and agents can most certainly help you find the perfect plan for your truck insurance requirements, you shouldn’t leave everything up to them. Instead, it’s better that you familiarize yourself with the different types of truck coverage, how they work and whether you truly need them. Agents and brokers are undeniably helpful, but they can also prove to be great teachers. You don’t have to become an insurance expert, but you should make yourself as knowledgeable as possible.

Learn the Basics

Part of getting the most out of your truck insurance is knowing all the options available to you for coverage. Some of the essentials common to policyholders everywhere include:

  • Under/Uninsured Motorist Coverage – In the event you get into an accident with a motorist who doesn’t have coverage and is at fault for the incident, you’ll need under/uninsured motorist insurance to make sure you aren’t paying for someone else’s oversight out of your own pocket.
  • General Liability Coverage – Say you’re on someone else’s property and accidentally cause damage to that property. Such instances that take place on truck stops, loading docks and the like fall under liability coverage. Additionally, this type of insurance takes care of mistakes made while making a delivery.
  • Physical Damage Coverage – Should someone damage or steal your truck, you’ll be glad to have physical damage included in your policy, which handles the repair and replacement of your equipment.
  • Primary Liability Coverage – No matter how great and careful of a driver you are, no one is immune from making mistakes. Should you physically harm someone else during the course of business, your primary liability coverage is intended to take care of the resulting medical bills.
  • Motor Truck Cargo Coverage – With this, you’ll be covered in the event you have a refrigeration mishap, have your cargo stolen or experience a wet load. Here, you want to make sure your insurance agent provides you with a broad form policy rather than a specified peril policy.

What You Can Expect to Pay

Rather than focusing on the overall price of insuring your truck, you should instead pay close attention to what’s included in the quote and the policy. You don’t want to save money upfront only to have to spend much more later on out of pocket because of gaps in your coverage. Because deductibles are often a major part of getting the claims process started and saving money on your policy, make sure you know just what kind of deductible your plan has. For instance, will you have three separate deductibles for your cargo, trailer and truck, or just a single deductible cost for all three? While one policy might be more expensive, you could end up shelling out a lot more for another “less expensive” policy that has three different $1,500 deductibles.

Understand the Conditions of Your Coverage

While you’re checking off each type of basic coverage, dig deeper into what’s included with the coverage provided by each insurer. For instance, going back to the specified and broad form policies described above, if the incident that caused you to file a claim in the first place doesn’t fall within specific conditions listed on your policy, paying for damages will likely be entirely left up to you. Because it’s impossible to know when you’ll need to file a claim and why you’ll need to file a claim, both you and your finances are likely much better off with generous coverage.

Your Agent Should Be Familiar With Your Industry

Just like you want to familiarize yourself with the insurance industry, your agent should know a few things about the trucking industry. This is because your agent will have a better idea of the types of incidents, accidents and worries truckers have, which allows them to offer them better coverage and better service. Taking your insurance needs to an agent who doesn’t know about your industry is like taking your truck to a cardiologist for repairs.

Do your due diligence when it comes to insuring your new owner-operator venture. Your efforts are sure to serve you and your truck well on the road ahead.