With diesel fuel prices varying between $3.75 and $4.50 per gallon, small savings add up. In the trucking industry, these small savings can make a huge impact. Can these same fuel saving strategies impact your budget? Let’s look at a few of the trucking industries’ strategies, and consider if they may be applied to your personal vehicle.
How many miles do you drive per year?
The average American driver puts 13,476 miles per year on their personal vehicle. If you averaged 20 mpg and spent $4.00 per gallon, you’d spend $2,695 per year on fuel per vehicle. (Do you have two vehicles? Three?) Here are a few fuel saving ideas:
1.Slow Down – The trucking industry calculates slowing from 75 mph, top speed, to 65 mph, saves an estimated 8–12% in fuel. Reducing fuel consumption in your personal vehicle by 10% would mean a savings of $270 per year.
2.Modify Driver Behavior – An estimated savings of 5 to 10% can be accomplished by driving with fuel economy in mind. Using cruise control and avoiding fast starts and hard stops will impact savings, as will short shifting and smooth or progressive shifting. A savings of 5% is $135 per year.
3.Find the Best Route – If you have a GPS, use it — it is usually correct. It probably will not drive you into a lake. Use the app on your iphone or download goggle maps. Don’t waste fuel being lost or driving in circles (It’s a guy thing). The trucking industry calculates 3 to 7% of fuel is wasted on poor routing. If you saved 3%, you’re looking at an extra $81 per year.
4.Maintain Tires – Proper inflation, alignment, balance, and replacing worn tires all affect fuel consumption. Maintaining your tires can save 6% or more, which can save you $162 per year.
5. Maintain The Overall Vehicle – Proper, up-to-date maintenance saves fuel. While ignition timing, faulty fuel injectors, low coolant levels, leaky vacuum hoses, etc., will affect your economy, even a low savings of 4% would mean saving $109 per year.
6.Improve Aerodynamics – The trucking industry has been improving design aerodynamics since the 1970’s—the most recent innovation being side trailer skirts. Aero drag can be cut by up to 31%—every 1% saves the US trucking industry 200 million gallons of fuel per year. Passenger vehicles may also be improved with modifications, such as an aluminum sheet belly pan, and a few other aero modifications—all for about $300. A 3% savings equals $81 per year.
7.Consider a Hybrid – It’s estimated hybrid trucks could save 20 to 25% in fuel usage. Unfortunately, unlike hybrid passenger vehicles, the cost for hybrid tractor-trailers continues to be cost prohibitive.
So, what can be saved? The total savings here equals $838 per year, or a savings of 31%. If you’re like me, and drive double the 13,476 miles per year – this is a savings of nearly $1,700 per year. Multiply the savings by the number of vehicles you own, and the savings begin to add up. I know I could use the money.
Check out the Automobile Association’s ways to save up to 33% with Eco-driving advice.