Semi Trucks with trailers are at filling station for diesel refuDid you know that the average fuel tank on a semi-truck holds between 120 and 150 gallons of gas? That’s a whole lot of fuel, and it isn’t cheap. As a truck driver, you might assume that exorbitant fuel costs are just a fact of life. And while that’s partially true, there are steps you can take to improve fuel efficiency and save.

As one of Utah’s premier asphalt truck drivers, we have extensive experience transporting construction materials throughout the intermountain west. During our more than 30 years in business, we’ve learned several tricks that reduce fill-up costs significantly. Keep reading to learn more.

1.) Take it slow and easy. Remember the story of the tortoise and the hare? It’s where we get the saying “slow and steady wins the race.” Believe it or not, that rule applies as a truck driver. The faster you go, the harder your engine needs to work to keep all of the associated components (e.g., tires, alternator and transmission) up to speed. One study conducted by the U.S. Department of Energy found that reducing your average speed by just 5 to 10 miles per hour can improve fuel economy by up to 14%.

2.) Use an app like GasBuddy. When you need to fill up, what do you do? Pull off at the next highway exit or shop around? It might seem like a hassle, but the latter makes more sense. Mobile apps like GasBuddy and Mapquest Gas Prices collect and list all of the fuel prices in your area. A two- or three-cent difference might not seem like that big of a deal, but the savings really add up over time. Plus, many of these apps offer additional incentives like coupons, discounted refills and more.

3.) Plan your route in advance. There are more ways than one to arrive at your destination. If you set aside some time to plan your route in advance, you can map out the shortest and most efficient trip. Nowadays, it’s even possible to determine road conditions before you turn the key in the ignition. Apps like Google Maps can alert you to major weather events, traffic accidents or road construction that might slow you down.

4.) Turn off your engine at rest stops. When you’re taking a break, do you let the truck idle? On a hot summer’s day, this practice makes sense, but if the weather’s pleasant, shut your engine off. Studies show that you burn a gallon of gas for every hour spent idling.

These are just four ways you can cut back on fuel expenses. Would you add any other recommendations to our list? If so, please visit our Facebook page, leave a comment and let us know.