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  • Writer's pictureBig Wheels

12 ways to improve fuel economy for your truck

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Australia consumed 33,019 megalitres of fuel in 2020. With fuel prices continuing to fluctuate and trend upward, it’s worth making changes to improve the fuel economy of your truck.

Average fuel economy for trucks

Vehicle type is the biggest factor impacting average fuel consumption. In comparison, a rigid truck can consume more than twice as much as a passenger vehicle per 100kms. According to recent statistics collected by Budget Direct, regular passenger-carrying cars consume 11.1L/100km, whereas rigid trucks consume 28.6L/100km. In addition, non-freight carrying trucks consume about 23.2L/100km and articulated trucks a whopping 53.1L/100km.

Let’s put that into perspective. If you’re a rigid truck driver making a 100km trip, you’re consuming roughly 28.6L. Multiply that by the average cost of diesel in Australia ($1.50); your trip just cost you at least $42.90.

Save yourself a considerable amount of money in the long run by following these 12 ways to improve the fuel economy of your truck.

1. Reduce aggressive driving

Reduce your speed and unnecessary braking. If you speed or brake regularly, you end up consuming more fuel than you would by maintaining a safe speed. So, keep an eye on the speedometer, drive to the speed limit, and you’ll avoid excessive fuel consumption.

2. Manage cruise RPM

If you drive at higher revolutions per minute, you end up burning more fuel. Finding the number of revolutions per minute that best suits you will improve the fuel efficiency of your trip and reduce costs.

3. Look for low-cost fuel

It may seem obvious, but why pay more when you can pay less? Keep an eye out for cheaper fuel stations along your route and stop there to fill up. Innovative GPS trackers and mobile apps can also direct you to less expensive stations.

4. Routes: keep them short and efficient

Use your geographical knowledge and your GPS to ensure you’re making the most efficient routes possible.

5. Avoid unnecessary weight

Trucks carrying heavier weight consume additional fuel compared to trucks carrying lighter loads. Therefore, make sure to limit your load where possible to save on fuel consumption.

6. Stop idling

One hour of idling in a truck consumes about 3L of fuel. So, turn off your vehicle and try to reduce the amount of time spent idling.

7. Use a higher gear where possible

Driving at faster speeds in low gears can consume a significant amount of additional fuel. So keep your gears high where possible and maximise your fuel consumption.

8. Minimise air conditioning use

Every time you use the aircon, you use more fuel. Improve the fuel economy of your truck by using your A/C sparingly.

9. Check tires

Correct tyre pressure is critical for all vehicles, particularly for large commercial vehicles that spend a lot of time on the road. Understanding the correct truck tyre pressure for your truck and how to identify over and under-inflated tyres help you avoid wheel misalignment, increased fuel consumption and many other issues.

10. Inspect the fan

If your truck overheats regularly, your engine fan has to work hard to cool it down. The longer the engine fan runs, the more fuel you will consume. So if you’re heading out on long trips, make sure to take regular breaks and have your vehicle serviced regularly.

11. Check battery cables

If your battery cables are in poor condition, the alternator will have to work harder, and you’ll end up consuming more fuel. Make sure to check them regularly to make sure they are not beginning to corrode.

12. Invest in aerodynamics

You might also consider investing in aerodynamic add ons for your truck. Aerodynamic products like air deflectors and body cones can help reduce your fuel consumption, particularly over long trips.

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