They are sometimes referred to as Hypermilers – those people who will do anything they can to get the maximum number of miles from a gallon of gasoline as humanly possible. Sometimes the things they do are not entirely safe, like careening around corners without touching the brakes. We don’t recommend trying this tactic in your personal vehicle, let alone your 18-wheeler. However, we might be able to learn a bit from some of the rules they follow to get more MPGs than we are used to from our routes.
Not only will these tips for increasing your MPGs save you money and reduce your visits to fill up your tank, but it’s also better for the environment. These tips transfer to help your fuel economy on your days off when running errands. How cool is that?
Tip 1: Let Up on the Pedal
Have you ever noticed when you hurry to pass other cars on the road in your personal car you usually end up stuck right next to them at the next red light? Yep. That awkward moment happens to us all. Not only does it increase the frustration of being in a rush, this unsuccessful tactic also uses up a lot of gas, decreases your miles per gallon, and takes a toll on your car.
Apply this thinking to when you are on the clock. Take your time getting up to speed and once you are there, keep it constant.
Tip 2: Coast When You Can
When you know you are coming to an exit ramp or a turn, signal early so that drivers behind you will know you will be slowing down, and then coast. Same goes for a red light, when driving in the city. Seems pretty elementary, but you’ll give your brakes a rest while saving a penny or two on gas.
Tip 3: Keep Tires Well Inflated, Filters Checked, and Oil Changed
While checking the pressure of all tires on an 18-wheeler before every drive isn’t practical, making sure your tires are well inflated and free of defects on a regular basis will help you get better gas mileage. The amount of drag with low tire pressure will decrease your fuel efficiency quite a bit over time.
Make sure oil and air filters are clean and replace them on schedule to keep engines running efficiently. Air can’t move through dirty filters and oil can’t get where it needs to be when there’s sludge blocking its path. Keeping the engine clean and free of debris will help with maximizing those gallons.
If you want to take saving gas even further, this next tip is for you. Keeping the windows up and minimizing your use of air conditioning will also help with getting better gas mileage. That being said, it is important to be comfortable while on the job, so mileage may vary depending on your preferred temperature.
There are a few good MPG phone apps available that can help you keep track of your improvements and tell you where you can still improve. It can be really satisfying to see progress in increasing your MPG in just a few months’ time.
NTB Trucking has made efforts, such as the side skirts we installed on 150 of our dry vans in 2014 to help keep gas usage down and we hope that the tips above will help too. Since safety is our number one concern, only use any of the above tips at appropriate times. Let us know in the comments below or on our Facebook page what you do to save a few bucks at the pump.
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