Long-Term Solutions to Improve Fuel Economy

Kenworth T-680

Fuel economy continues to be one of the top concerns for trucking companies, which is why many fleet owners and operators are focused on increasing fuel efficiency and minimizing fuel consumption. Whether you’re looking to do a trade for a more fuel efficient model or outfit a new truck, keep the following features in mind to save big annually on fuel.

1. Predictive cruise control

Utilizing cruise control technologies in trucks has proven to boost a fleet’s overall fuel economy. Some of the newer technology incorporates features to keep drivers safe and protect equipment and cargo.

Predictive cruise technology optimizes cruising based on topographical GPS data to help maximize fuel economy. As a truck enters certain types of terrain, such as rolling hills, the predictive cruise control allows speeds to drop slightly below the set cruise, which is an effective way to boost fuel economy.

2. Tire management

It can be a costly error to take tires for granted. Understanding which tires work optimally with your fleet is vital to ensure your truck’s productivity and efficiency. A tire's rolling resistance is the third biggest factor affecting a vehicle's fuel economy, behind engine efficiency and aerodynamic drag. Three main factors impact a tire’s rolling resistance:

  • Tread compounding
  • Tread pattern design
  • Tire structure

To improve tire fuel efficiency, consider shallower tread depth, find a good balance between cap and base compounds, tread pattern, streamlined ribs, blocks and lugs and a stiffer belt package. 

3. Automated manual transmissions

Experts say automated manual transmissions (AMT) can help deliver 1-3 percent better fuel economy than a previous generation engine and transmission, with very little physical change to the equipment. 

There are potentially higher gains from automatics in certain high-shifting duty cycles. Actual results vary depending on duty cycle, the capability of the driver, and how well the driver has been trained to operate a truck with an electronically-controlled transmission.

4. Driver performance

According to the ATA’s Technology and Maintenance Council, the most skilled drivers can produce as much as 35 percent better mpg than less-skilled truck operators. This makes driver education essential. Driver training programs that improve fuel economy by 5 percent could save more than $1,200 in fuel costs per vehicle each year, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). 

In addition to driver training programs, truck telematics offer driver style management features to help identify events such as excessive idling, harsh acceleration, braking, speeding, use of cruise control and more. This technology can help improve performance, saving fleet owners and operators up to 10 percent in fuel costs as well as improve road safety.

If you’re ready to start saving money on fuel, upgrade to a more fuel-efficient truck. Check out our inventory here.

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