By far, your biggest expense as a truck driver will be fuel. This expense eats into your take- home salary.
Since fuel costs have such a big impact on your salary and ultimate success as an owner operator, it is important to focus most of your cost cutting efforts here.
There are several areas to consider that, when combined, can significantly reduce your fuel expenses, including choice of fuel station, geography, and driving style.
Every dollar you save in fuel expenses goes back into your pocket as a bigger salary.
Your choice of fuel station will impact your fuel expense. If you choose to refuel at a popular truck stop along the Interstate you can expect to pay about $0.15 more per gallon than a lesser known diesel stop. Sure, you get truck stop convenience and amenities, but consider that a 250 gallon refuel will cost you $37.50 more than using a lesser known diesel stop.
Save the truck stops for your 10-hour reset.
The general location where you choose to operate will have a significant impact on your fuel expenses. Typically, the lower Midwestern and Southern states have lower fuel prices than the rest of the United States. By choosing to operate in these states you can save around $0.25 per gallon.
For example, Oklahoma’s diesel prices are about $0.50 lower than Pennsylvania’s. In this example, a 250 gallon refuel in Oklahoma will save you $125 when compared to Pennsylvania.
You can see current state-by-state diesel prices at AAA’s Daily Fuel Gauge Report. If possible and whenever possible, plan your fuel stops in states with the lowest fuel prices for your trip. Over the long run, consider operating mostly in the low fuel cost states.
Another key factor to consider regarding geography is that the fewer hills, mountains, and towns you have to travel through, the less fuel you will use. Interestingly, many of the low fuel cost states also have flatter terrain and longer distances between towns with less traffic.
Ideally, you would focus your operations east of the Rocky Mountains, west of the Appalachian Mountains, and south of Interstate 70.
Challenge yourself each trip to achieve a personal best in miles per gallon and reward yourself when you achieve a new personal best.
There is no need to lead-foot your truck, burning fuel at a rate that doesn’t offer a benefit.
Use cruise control at a speed that offers higher fuel efficiency.
Avoid dead stop starts by slowing for a red light and allowing it to turn green while you’re still rolling.
Keep idling to an absolute minimum.
By improving your fuel efficiency on a 250 gallon fill-up from 6 miles per gallon to 7 miles per gallon, you get 250 miles further down the road for the same cost.
In the Comments section below, please share your MPG and your best tip for saving fuel.
-May the wind be at your six and weigh stations closed.