June 16, 2022
Share this article:
When considering big rigs to buy for your trucking company’s fleet, fuel economy is a major factor to consider before committing to a brand or model. Fuel costs are a major expense for most carriers, so buying fuel-efficient diesel engine trucks is a good way to reduce that expense and improve your bottom line.
Semi trucks get notoriously poor gas mileage. While some automobiles can get almost 40 mpg, most semi trucks get under 7 mpg. Truck manufacturers are working on improving fuel economy for their trucks, and some are even investing in alternative fuel options.
Every truck manufacturer has at least one fuel-efficient model to offer for long-haul truckers. Most of them also have at least one model that uses either electric or natural gas instead of diesel fuel in an effort to support industry-wide emissions reductions. Below are some of the most fuel-efficient models from the top truck brands to consider:
The Freightliner Cascadia Evolution has improved fuel efficiency compared to previous commercial truck models. It gets over 10 miles per gallon and is equipped with the latest aerodynamic improvements. It also has enhanced driver comfort and convenience features. They redesigned the instrument cluster to be easier to read. The seats have better back and lumbar support. And they offer an available battery-powered auxiliary HVAC system designed to reduce overnight engine idling.
The Kenworth T680 Advantage gets 9 miles per gallon and has a number of innovative design features. It has aerodynamic side extenders, a front air dam, mud flaps, air deflector, exhaust cut covers, and wheel covers. The engine and 10-speed automated transmission provide power, better road performance, and significant fuel savings.
The Mack Pinnacle is designed to better help support the weight of shipments for improved fuel economy on the highway. It gets almost 8 miles per gallon, has a low center of gravity to improve stability and wind-resistance, and the cab is axle-forward to keep the weight evenly distributed.
The Peterbilt 579 gets just under 10 miles per gallon. It stands out for its classic Peterbilt design and new technology to make driving safer and easier. The hood, bumper, and air dam are all made for less wind resistance and to promote fuel economy.
There are lots of techniques truckers can use while driving to improve fuel economy. It’s a good idea to include one or more of these techniques when training and onboarding new truck drivers.
It’s important for drivers to regularly check their trucks to avoid potentially dangerous situations while on the road. Drivers should always make sure their tires are properly inflated. This is a safety precaution that will also yield better fuel economy.
Be sure to note with your fleet manager or maintenance team that in winter, your trucks may need a bit of overinflation because colder air can lead to low pressure in tires.
Reducing idle time can lead to huge fuel savings. Truckers don’t always have control over whether they can turn their truck off if they’re going to be in the same place for a while, but if they can, they should always turn their engine off rather than let it idle. Some states, like California, even have laws prohibiting idling because it causes so much fuel consumption.
If drivers stay in a higher gear whenever possible, they can boost their truck’s fuel efficiency. They’ll gradually increase and decrease their speed instead of braking or gassing drastically, and that can yield significant fuel savings. Plus, they won’t have to switch gears as often, and that will save even more fuel.
Get the latest industry news, events and advice straight to your inbox.