truck with fairings

Fuel Economy For Trucks: 12 Tips To Improve Your MPG

Heavy duty trucks are our go-to when it comes to moving heavy freights. Even if they are a great help in our lives, they also contribute to pollution due to their exhaust. That doesn’t mean that we have to ban them for good, there are still solutions that we can do and one of them is to improve fuel economy for trucks.

What Is MPG?

Before we get into details about how to improve your mpg or fuel economy, let us first discuss what it is. MPG literally stands for miles per gallon. It measures how much distance the truck can travel with a gallon of fuel used.

When you have a high MPG, it just means that your vehicle is very efficient. It can cover a great distance and save up on fuel. Thus, saving you some money on fuel expenses. Plus, it also lessens the amount of unnecessary pollution the trucks produce.

10 Tips To Improve Your MPG

Improving the MPG highly depends on both the truck and driver. Passing the basic requirements of being a truck driver is the first step. Then apply these tips:

1. Select Better Trucks

If you still don’t have a truck and is in the market for one, make sure you select more efficient truck models. Sometimes these can be more expensive because they are newer models but saving on fuel makes up for their upfront cost in the long run.

2. Maintain A Constant Speed

It can be very tempting to floor the pedals especially when you’re in a rush but that will just burn more fuel. The best thing to do is to accelerate gradually. You’ll eventually reach your ideal speed and you don’t have to rush.

Furthermore, you shouldn’t overspeed too. It also takes time to gradually slow down and if you try to floor your brakes, you’d also be spending more energy. Avoid sudden breaking if it isn’t necessary. Braking abruptly can also be dangerous because of the momentum. Always be mindful about your distance between the car in front of you.

3. Reduce Drag

To reduce drag and improve the aerodynamics of your truck you can make use of vortex generators, fairings, vented mud flaps, drive fenders as well as wheel covers. These little accessories all help reduce the overall drag.

You don’t have to use them all at once but you can simply start with trailer skirts. These are attached to the underside of the trailers to prevent air turbulence. The trailer skirts fall under fairings and they may be detached during unloading.

4. Check Your Tires

Inflating the tires to the ideal pressure helps reduce the rolling resistance of the tires. With increased resistance, your truck’s engine needs to burn more fuel to move the whole vehicle and trailers.

Apart from the tire’s pressure, you should also check if the kind of tires you’re using are the right ones for the road your driving. Take a look at the tread patterns. Some wheels are now specially designed for low rolling resistance.

5. Avoid Idling

Turn the engine off when you’re not using your vehicle. This prevents the engine from burning fuel when you’re not moving. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to turn off the engine while at a stop light or when in a traffic jam. When you go for a stop to eat or rest, you can save some precious fuel by turning the engine off.

6. Use The Right Fluids

There are different fluids needed by your truck to run smoothly. You should make sure that you only use the right ones. Finding the right one is easy because it is already recommended by the manufacturers.

Check the kind of fuel you use as well as the motor oil of your engine. Plenty of motor oils claim that they are best and they offer improved gas mileage but that’s not necessarily true. You should still check if the motor oil is compatible with your engine. When in doubt, always check your truck’s manufacturers.

7. Identify Your Route In Advance

If you have to deliver in multiple areas, make sure you plan your route in advance so you don’t have to double back. It’s also great to have a backup plan in case the road in your original plan isn’t passable.

8. Load Off Unnecessary Weights

Excess weight adds to the resistance of your truck. I know that one of the tips above recommends adding accessories for better aerodynamics but you should also know your limits. Also when selecting those accessories, make sure you select those of lighter weights.

9. Replace Your Air Filter

Make sure you replace the filter of your engine within the recommended replacement period. This helps make sure that it isn’t clogged with dust and other particles. Air is essential in the burning of fuel and you want to make sure that the engine isn’t using up a lot of its energy trying to get the air that it needs to run.

10. Clean your fuel injectors

A mixture of air and fuel is needed to run the engine. In addition to the filters, the fuel injectors should also be cleaned so that it can efficiently deliver the fuel needed. Sometimes, carbon deposits can accumulate in the fuel injectors due to use. By cleaning these up, you can create more space for the fuel to pass through.

Trailer Tail on Open Highway

The Benefits Of Installing A Trailer Tail On Your Semi-Truck

We’ve all seen those wind tunnel tests with wisps of smoke moving effortlessly across the aerodynamically designed chassis.  I think we can all agree that traditional semi-truck / trailers are about the least aerodynamic vehicles on the road today, and while modern design have improved somewhat,  you should get smart on keeping your fleet as aerodynamically optimized as possible.  Enter the tried-and-true, industry-tested solution:  trailer tails.

Specifically designed to be used alongside trailers of semi-trucks, you’ve probably seen these retrofitted sheets of metal have been around for decades.  For a fleet operator, they offer a host of benefits including better stability, drag reduction and overall improve safety conditions for your driver and load.

Of course, these aren’t the only benefits that a trailer tail can offer. If you keep reading, you’ll see just how advantageous installing a trailer tail on your semi truck can be.

Dramatically Improve Fuel Efficiency

When you have a lot of rear drag, your fuel efficiency is going to increase. Carrying extra weight can cause your fuel costs to accelerate. If you are trying to keep your spending down, you should look into installing a trailer tail on your vehicle.

Once the trailer is installed, you’ll be able to spend significantly less on fuel. You’ll be able to reduce fuel costs, and you’ll be able to save yourself time as well. After all, if you don’t have to refuel all the time, you will be able to spend more time on the road.

Works In All Weather Conditions

Driving a truck can be more difficult under certain weather conditions. For example, it is hard to drive a semi truck safely when it’s raining. However, the right kind of trailer tail shouldn’t cause you any problems. It will be able to work in any weather conditions.

A lot of accidents occur during bad weather. You should try to keep these kinds of incidents from causing problems for you. If you install a trailer tail on your truck, you’ll be able to keep your truck stable when the weather turns.

It’s EPA Validated And CARB Compliant

The EPA has looked at trailer tails, and they have validated them for use with semi trucks. These tails are also CARB compliant, and they are exempt from any U.S. DOT restrictions regarding length.

There are no obstacles keeping you from using a trailer tail. If you have decided that you would like to take advantage of them, you can install one without an issue.

It Can Keep Your Fleet Competitive

Fleets drive many miles over the course of the year. Fuel costs can be high, and all this driving can cause damage to a semi-truck. If you want to keep your fleet profitable, installing a trailer tail can be extremely beneficial. It will help you to save money every year.

If your fleet drives more than 20,000 miles each year, the savings you see will be dramatic. You’ll be amazed at the difference a trailer tail can make. A device like this can save you a great deal of money.

There are many benefits to installing a trailer tail on a semi-truck. If you want to take advantage of these benefits, you should start looking at trailer tails as soon as possible. Once you have one of these tails installed, you’ll be able to enjoy the perks that they offer.

Biodiesel Fuel Fill Up

Biodiesel – A Viable Alternative Fuel for Truckers?

With the push for cleaner burning Alternative Fuels, Bio-diesel has become an ever more popular source of fuel for motor vehicles, especially in the commercial transportation industry. In essence, biodiesel is a fuel with very similar characteristics as regular diesel fuel. The main difference is that rather than being refined from crude oil, bio-diesel is produced by refining renewable sources, mainly animal and vegetable fat/oil. An entire industry has been created for the direct supply of raw materials to bio energy production plants, with vast amounts of crops like corn and rape seed being produced for this very purpose.

There are many biodiesel fuel advantages including environmental impacts through lower CO2 emissions. But for a commercial truck driver environmental factors are not necessarily the primary reason to switch to a renewable fuel source. There are economic advantages as well that can have a very positive effect on operating costs. However, these have to be offset by some disadvantages that many people in the bio energy industry do not highlight as much as they should be.

In this post, we’ll take a look at what makes a fuel “Biodiesel” and cover the various advantages and disadvantages of using this fuel in the commercial trucking field.

What is Biodiesel Exactly?

Biodiesel is a renewable energy solution that is derived from substances like restaurant or diner grease, plant oils, animal fats and food-oil byproducts.  Since the ignition / compression ratio for these bio-fuels are similar to that of petroleum-based diesel, biodiesel’s chemistry allow it be used in most diesel engines with little or no modifications.

Although the ignition properties are similar to standard diesel, biodiesel burns much cleaner.  According to the U.S. Department of Energy, biodiesels can significantly reduce the emissions of ozone-depleting compounds such as carbon monoxide, sulfates, polycyclic aromatic, and nitrated polycyclic aromatic.  Additionally biodiesel emissions are safer to breathe as particulate matter from exhaust has shown to be significantly reduced.

Biodiesel is available in the United States as a blend with standard diesel in a number of concentrations up to 100% biodiesel.  These include:

  • 100 – 100% Biodiesel
  • B20 – 80% Petroleum-based diesel fuel, 20% Biodiesel
  • B5 – 95% Petroleum-based diesel fuel, 5% Biodiesel
  • B2 – 98% Petroleum-based diesel fuel, 22% Biodiesel

B20 is considered the most common blend for use in North America and can now be found at most truck fueling locations in the United States.  For an updated map of bio-fuel ready stations, check out this Bio-Diesel Retail Location Finder.

The Advantages of Biodiesel

1 – No Engine Reconfiguration

A standard Diesel engine will be suitable to run on bio diesel without any reconfiguration or modification. This means that you do not have to go through significant expenses and time off the road just to get ready for a switch to Biodiesel. However, you should check your vehicle’s warranty to see whether using alternative Diesel fuels will affect or void it.

2 – Engine Operation

Diesel engines by their design are fully reliant on the fuel for lubrication of internal engine parts and components. Without this lubrication the engine will very quickly deteriorate leading to reduced performance and eventually breakdowns.

Biodiesel has the fundamental characteristic of providing more lubricity than even standard Diesel fuel can provide. This is due to fuel regulations that gradually led to lower levels of lubricity in crude oil based diesel.

3 – Fuel Economy

Another one of the biodiesel fuel advantages is that you will see an increase in fuel economy. This means that you can save up to 30% on fuel intake, which means less stops for refilling and you can reduce one of the major operating costs of running a commercial truck.

The Disadvantages

1 – Low Temperature Environments

If you drive your truck in very cold temperatures then Biodiesel may not be the best solution. Dependent on the renewable raw material used in the refining process the fuel will gel at low temperatures which can cause significant engine problems. You can opt for a blend of biodiesel and winterized standard diesel fuel, but for the coldest months of the year it is probably best to avoid it.

2 – Clogging Of Filters

While biodiesel is a great lubricant and cleans harmful particles from the inner parts of the engine, this does result in diesel particle filters becoming clogged more often than they otherwise would. These filters will require more regular replacement and this can add to down time and maintenance costs.

3 – Quality Variation

Because the input material is sourced from different biofuel crops and locations there can be a significant variance in the quality. This can result in different levels of engine performance and therefore different levels of fuel economy. Buying from a reputable and large refining company can ensure a more stable level of quality over time.

The Jury’s Out on Biodiesel

What commercial drivers have to do is weigh the biodiesel fuel advantages against the disadvantages to see whether it makes economic and commercial sense to switch fuel types. The more fuel you use the more savings are available on your fuel bill. However, the increase in maintenance costs and potential added downtime has to be offset against those fuel economy gains.