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How Tractor-Trailer Owner-Operators Save Fuel & Frustration

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Utilizing some of these tips will allow drivers and owner-operators to save fuel, which could result in less stress, increased efficiency, and productivity. Fuel-efficiency can be achieved through better maintenance, improved schedule planning, aerodynamics, even speeds, less idling, and optimized routes.

Schedule changes do not have to be significant to affect change. Fuel prices are quite stable now, unlike the Great Recession days during 2007-2009. Diesel prices had settled at around the $2.00 - $3.00 mark after the recession, but are escalating recently. What’s more, when you average 5.9 miles per gallon (mpg), even subtle changes can mean substantial savings.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration puts the average price of diesel at $3.62 per gallon, up from $3.16 in May of 2019. Considering the near $.50 increase in just a couple of months, practicing better fuel management, could save tremendous amounts of money if the price of diesel once again climbs beyond $4.00 a gallon. Just imagine where a war with Iran might send the price of diesel.

Therefore, we thought it would be a good idea to take a look at some things that owner-operators could do to increase fuel-efficiency and add to their bottom line.

Aerodynamic Devices

Anything that adds drag to your rig decreases fuel-efficiency and costs the owner-operators or independent truckers money. Every dollar saved on fuel-efficiency goes directly to the owner-operator’s profit.

In his article, Fuel-Efficient Drivers: Slow Down and Plan Ahead, Jack Roberts relates the experiences of Alec Costerus with childhood sail boating that lead to his “patent-pending aerodynamic skirt system for his tractor-trailer.”

Use what technology has given you such as load covers, trailer skirts, aerodynamic mud flaps, and other special attachments that process rear airflow more efficiently to minimize wind resistance.

Optimize Routes as Owner-Operators

When planning your movement, breaks, and driving schedule, it is wise to consider the times you will hit major cities. Traffic in and around major cities before and after work can grind to a halt. Planning that mandatory 30-minute break could allow you to sit and relax with a cup of coffee or dinner while other drivers are stuck in traffic. This method of planning will also produce reduced fuel usage.

Maintenance

Keeping your rig tuned can lead to increased fuel efficiency. Regular, sustained maintenance will minimize roadside fixes and maximize your fuel economy. Owner-operators can also save on expensive repairs, extend the life of their truck, and ensure it performs at peak efficiency with regular maintenance.

Using lubricants with low-friction help to preserve fuel use; the more friction, the more fuel used. Regularly scheduled maintenance, fluid changes, axle grease, and worn part replacement adds to a smooth-running vehicle and fuel-efficiency. However, part of a good maintenance system includes periodic checks while on the road.

Maintain Even Speeds & Minimize Idling

Maintaining an even speed out there on the highway helps preserve fuel. Just one mph increase uses one-tenth of a gallon per mile. That doesn’t necessarily mean if you go 45 instead of 55 mph, you will save one gallon a mile. But, driving 75 mph rather than 65 mph uses approximately 25 percent more fuel. The key is to maintain a steady speed, and using your cruise control will help.

Idling is the enemy of fuel-efficiency. The U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates that idling trucks waste nearly one billion gallons per year. That’s $3.62 billion annually. How much could you save?

Save Even More by Challenging Traffic Tickets

In California, the statewide speed limit for trucks, buses, and any vehicle with three or more axles, including towed vehicles, is 55 mph. Most CDL holders understand they cannot merely pay the fine. They know NOTS and CSA severity points will affect their ability to get a better paying job with better carriers. What many do not understand it that it is often less expensive to hire a traffic attorney to challenge their ticket than to take time off and sit in court waiting for a chance to explain the circumstances.

When you have a traffic ticket, you need an experienced and knowledgeable traffic attorney to write and submit your request for dismissal and/or reduced no-point charges. There is no fool-proof method, but you have a much better chance with a traffic attorney.

Speak to an Attorney Who Regularly Practices in Kings County Traffic Court

Call Bigger & Harman at (661) 349-9300 when you need legal assistance with a traffic ticket in Kings County. Hanford Traffic court is not a pleasant place to spend a day off. It isn’t any better when you aren’t getting paid to wait to see the judge. That’s why we spend as much time as necessary to craft the best request for dismissal. We will go to court if we need to get you the best possible result, but spending the time on the paperwork typically results in a much better outcome.

We only handle traffic tickets. Give us a call, and let’s discuss your situation. The call is free and without obligation.

Se habla Español (661) 349-9755.

Send us an email, attorney@biggerharmanlaw.com.

References:

The 2019 CA Commercial Driver Handbook .pdf

The Truckinginfo.com article, 3 Proven Fuel Saving Strategies for Truck Fleets

The Truckinginfo.com article, Fuel-Efficient Drivers: Slow Down and Plan Ahead

Empire-TNT.com article, MANAGING YOUR TRUCKS’ FUEL