T680 on-highway cruise control

Short-Term Fixes: How to Increase Truck Fuel Economy

Fuel economy continues to be among top concerns for trucking companies, which is why many fleet owners and operators are focused on increasing fuel efficiency and minimizing fuel consumption. Fuel prices will forever fluctuate, and proper equipment upgrades can take a while to implement. Here are four ways fleet managers can work to improve fuel economy today:

Driver Training

Drivers are not only the No. 1 expense of trucking companies, but they are largely responsible for controlling a fleet’s No. 2 expense: fuel. Drivers and fuel economy go hand in hand, making driver training and monitoring a significantly impactful way to reduce fuel expenses. 

Factors that waste fuel include driving at speeds higher than the listed limits, idling an engine and driving with too-high an engine rpm, which can waste several gallons of fuel each hour. A driver training program that improves fuel economy 5 percent could save more than $1,200 in fuel costs per vehicle each year, according to the EPA. 


Truck drivers spend more than half their time operating vehicles at highway speeds. A long-haul truck with 90 percent highway operation that reduces its top speed from 70 to 65 mph could save $1,450 or more in fuel, according to the EPA. Here are five additional tips for drivers to keep in mind to maximize fuel economy:

Lower your average highway speed. 
Every mph over 55 equals a 0.1- mpg drop in fuel economy.

Avoid revving the engine between shifts.
Ease into each new gear and don’t rush to climb through them.

Run in your engine’s sweet spot. 
Once cruising speed is reached, operating in the peak torque zone provides optimum horsepower so the engine runs most efficiently. It takes approximately 200 hp to maintain 65 mph.

Anticipate traffic lights. 
If you can approach slowly and avoid a complete stop, it saves fuel and reduces equipment wear. 

Don’t punch the throttle. 
Gradually put your foot into it. Pretend there is an egg between the pedal and the floor. Accelerate smooth and steadily to avoid fuel burn spikes.

Tire Inflation

Improper inflation leads to tire flex, which produces heat and increases rolling resistance, resulting in wasted fuel. Heat and stress also soften and deflate tire components, causing faster and more uneven wear, resulting in a shorter lifespan of the tire.

Tire manufacturers recommend checking tire pressure on a weekly basis, as well as establishing a tire maintenance program. MHC Truck Leasing’s contract maintenance includes a tire program to ensure maximum performance, safety and fuel mileage with proactive tire management.

Cruise Control

Two identical trucks with two different drivers can result in two different fuel economy outcomes. The difference can be up to 30 percent, according to Kenworth engineers. If a truck is equipped with cruise control technology, it can make a tremendous difference in closing the fuel economy gap among drivers of all experience levels. 

For fleets that want more control of fuel economy, they can reward good driving performance with speed adjustments using driver performance technology. Ultimately, drivers should avoid needless acceleration when not utilizing cruise control.

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