How to Improve Truck Fuel Efficiency

Itʼs no secret that fuel is a transport companyʼs biggest expense. For many operators, it accounts for at least 1/3 of their total costs. So, how do you improve fuel economy? Itʼs all about knowing what the main factors are and how they come into play. This page covers what to think about if you want to lower your fuel bill – from truck specification and maintenance to driver performance and fleet management.

What impacts fuel consumption the most?

The truck itself

To get the best possible fuel economy, the truck must be specified correctly. There are three main areas to consider here: the powertrain, aerodynamics and rolling resistance. Beyond specification, you can also improve fuel efficiency with the right truck services to maintain and manage your fleet.

Driver performance

Did you know that the best drivers are typically 5–10% more fuel efficient than average drivers? And the difference can be even bigger – as high as 20%. Using cruise control, driving at the right speed, and braking correctly are some of the ways driver performance can impact your bottom line.

5 key questions to improve fuel consumption, emissions and fleet costs

An introduction to the most important factors impacting fuel economy.

1. How do you optimize the powertrain?

The powertrain is one of the biggest factors in a truckʼs fuel economy. Once this is specified, much of your truckʼs fuel consumption is fixed – so itʼs crucial to get it right. While every powertrain component makes a difference – from the rear axle to the oil in the transmission – the three components with the largest impact are the engine, gearbox and cruise control.

Today, recent technological advancements are taking each of these components to new heights of efficiency. Turbo compound engines (like the D13TC) deliver lots of power and better fuel economy than eSCRs, and also significantly reduce AdBlue usage. An automated gearbox like I-Shift uses real-time driving data to make every shift extremely precise. And the introduction of predictive cruise control (I-See) means that drivers can take their foot off the gas even on hilly terrain – and save even more fuel.

Top 3 powertrain factors

Explore these solutions for the optimal powertrain.

2. How do you improve aerodynamic performance?

Aerodynamics are another specification factor with a big impact on truck fuel consumption. Performance can be affected by everything from external accessories to mirrors and front spoilers, but most important are the:

  • Cab design
  • Roof spoiler and cab side deflectors
  • Chassis skirts and fender flares
  • Trailer

So, how do you improve a truckʼs aerodynamic performance? When it comes to cabs, the height, roof  angle and design all make a difference. As for the roof spoiler, cab side deflectors, chassis skirts and fender flares? They all improve fuel economy, but be sure the roof spoiler is factory-fitted from the start – mounting it even 5 cm too low or 10 cm too high can impact the potential fuel savings. And regarding trailers: Keeping them in top condition and the wheels aligned is key. You can maintain your entire vehicle at one stop with our Trailer Service.

3. How do you minimize rolling resistance?

Rolling resistance is the third biggest specification factor impacting fuel. This is primarily determined by:

  • Tires
  • Wheel alignment

To minimize rolling resistance, use fuel-optimized tires rather than “multipurpose” tires. And be sure not to drive with under-inflated tires or misaligned axles. Misalignment leads to instability in steering and causes the truck to take up more space on the road, since the wheels donʼt travel in the same path. This increases air resistance, which worsens fuel economy.

4. How do truck maintenance, fleet management services and connectivity reduce fuel costs?

The right services can make it easy to track and improve fuel consumption as well as keep your fleet in top condition.

5. How does driver performance impact fuel consumption? 

Investing in your drivers is just as important as investing in your trucks. Why? Because skilled and motivated drivers are proven to be more productive, efficient and safe. When it comes to saving fuel, the most important thing a driver can do is develop good habits regarding:

  • Cruising speed
  • Cruise control
  • Braking

Other factors include anticipatory driving, idling and driving in city traffic.

The surest way to boost driver performance – and your bottom line – is to take advantage of our driver training courses. Besides saving fuel, they can also boost productivity, increase your driversʼ industry knowledge, improve safety, and help you attract and retain the best drivers.

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