Fuel economy means how far your vehicle can go with a specific fuel consumption. Moreover, the average fuel economy of a semi-truck is 5 to 7 miles per gallon, depending on driving conditions.
How To Improve Fuel Economy in a Semi-Truck? You can improve the fuel economy in a semi-truck with fuel additives, lubrication and maintenance, fuel card programs, even weight distribution, proper tire inflation, reduce idle time, use GPS, turn off electric accessories, drive smoothly, invest in aerodynamic features, and maintaining speed.
Fuel-efficient trucks are budget-friendly, and they are also helpful in reducing overall environmental pollution by cutting down the emission of harmful gasses.
Commercial vehicles usually consume more fuel because of the dirty parts. Using fuel additives to regulate the gasoline flow between several engine parts is better.
These additives contain chemicals that remove the deposits and clean the system for efficient fuel consumption. These are helpful to improve the mileage and overall performance of your vehicle.
These chemicals break down the deposits or prevent their buildup in the tank. However, you have to check your engine model before adding additives because some engines are incompatible.
Moreover, the effectiveness of fuel additives depends on their specific brand. In addition, I prefer to use synthetic oil during winter because of its low viscosity.
Oil with low viscosity moves faster between the engine system and provides better efficiency.
Lubrication and maintenance
Lubrication and maintenance of commercial vehicles are necessary to improve their working efficiency. It is necessary to replace the engine oil because it gets contaminated over time, which decreases its lubrication efficiency.
Moreover, air and fuel filters also get dirty and need replacement after several miles. You should replace these filters as a part of the maintenance schedule.
Dirty filters do not allow proper air and gas intake in the combustion chamber, affecting the ignition and overall fuel economy.
Keeping the engine parts clean and free from corrosion is also necessary. Keep the battery terminals clean because corroded terminals put stress on the alternator. Keep the sensors clean and ensure the efficient functioning of the injection system.
Check the working of cooling fans and inspect engine parts to see if these are running continuously. I always replace the engine oil of my semi-truck after 25,000 miles for better functioning of their parts.
Fuel card programs
Many refilling stations offer fuel card programs for commercial vehicles. You can get a discount on these cards, which is helpful to save the money that is required for tank refilling.
In addition, I always select low-cost stations for refilling. I do not prefer to fill the tank because of overheating issues.
Gasoline usually expands at high temperatures, which leads to overflowing and wastage. Educating drivers and scheduling training programs to ensure the best driving conditions are also better.
Even the distribution of weight
Semi-trucks contain large trailers on their backside for hauling various cargo. These are specifically designed for long and heavy hauls, and their trailers have more weight-carrying capacity.
Even distribution of weight on their trailers is necessary for better fuel economy. Uneven weight distribution puts a strain on several components.
Arranging cargo at low heights is also necessary to reduce wind resistance and make your vehicle more aerodynamic.
Avoid unnecessary items and overloading because engines have to generate more power to haul heavy loads.
Inflate tires properly
The average air pressure of a semi-truck front tire is about 115 psi, and trailer tires have an air pressure of 95 psi. It is necessary to maintain the air pressure so tires can maintain good contact with road surfaces.
Rolling resistance increases because of incorrect tire pressure. They need more power from the engine to move forward because of increased rolling resistance.
Keep the pressure gauge with you to check the air pressure in truck and trailer tires. Moreover, one of my friends is a driver, and he told me that he prefers tires with low-rolling resistance to improve mpg.
Reduce idle time and slow down acceleration
Many people do not turn off the ignition when their vehicle is not in motion. Running the engine when your truck is not in motion consumes fuel, affecting the overall mpg.
Turning off the engine while waiting in a lane, taking breaks, using an ATM, or showering is necessary. In addition, you should slow down your acceleration speed while starting your vehicle.
The engine provides more energy when you suddenly increase speed while accelerating. Idling is a waste of gas, and idling for one hour is approximately one gallon of gas.
You can only idle your vehicle when it is necessary. You can turn on the engine when you want to turn on the air conditioner or heater while sleeping in a sleeper cabin.
Most of the newer and modern semi-trucks are equipped with GPS tracking systems. It is beneficial to save gallons of fuel by reducing the unnecessary driving.
You can take short routes while following the maps, directly cutting down the mpg. You do not have to move here and there to reach your destination, which causes a waste of gas.
Use the easiest and shortest route to reach your destination using several apps. These apps give information about road hurdles, traffic conditions, and the availability of truck stops in designated areas.
Turn off electric accessories.
You can save fuel consumption in commercial vehicles by turning off the unnecessary electric accessories. Moreover, you should avoid adding aftermarket items that consume more power.
Turn off the air conditioning units while parking your semi-trucks. These are equipped with shore power electric connections for the ease and comfort of drivers.
You can directly connect your vehicle with shore power connections to run air conditioners and heaters.
The driving habits significantly affect the fuel economy. It is better to keep your truck in higher gear because it can maintain the speed while consuming less power from the engine.
Moreover, several semi-trucks have the cruise control feature to maintain a constant speed. It is a convenient feature and reduces fatigue during long hauls.
You do not have to press the gas pedal frequently for speed adjustment. However, you can only activate the cruise control while moving on highways.
Sudden braking also affects the MPG because the engine requires power to idle every time you press the brake pedal to stop.
Invest in aerodynamic features
Many truckers prefer to invest in aerodynamic features to increase fuel economy and save their budget. Air resistance increases when you move at high speed, which causes the engine to generate more power for forward movement.
You can replace the pre-existing windshields with the new ones that provide better airflow. Install hub caps on wheels and ensure these are free from wear and tear.
My friend always prefers to close the windows while driving to reduce the air resistance. You can also add the front air dam to direct the airflow on the lower side of the vehicle. The box-like structure of the trailers that are attached behind increases the air drag. I attached the chassis skirts to reduce the air resistance.
The significant space between the trailer and the truck also increases aerodynamic drag. Minimize the gap while attaching the trailer to it.
Semi-trucks are commercial vehicles and usually consume more gas while moving at high speed. These are loaded with heavy cargo, so they require more power from the engine for the forward propulsion of tires.
You can save its cost by minimizing the speed and decreasing the engine’s rotations per minute. It is better to drive these at 50 mph to 60 mph, depending on the road conditions.
Avoiding frequent acceleration and braking while maintaining the speed improves the fuel economy.