6. Coast in gear whenever possible, for as long as possible
When you coast in gear, your engine doesn’t consume fuel. Momentum keeps it rotating, and fuel pumped to the engine returns to the fuel tanks. Take advantage of this “free mileage” by backing out of the throttle earlier when approaching exit ramps or slower speed zones. Once you’ve coasted as far as you can in high gear, downshift a gear or two to coast a little further. Backing out of the throttle at the right time also allows your truck to slow down to the proper speed with limited braking, which helps extend tire and brake lining life.
5. Use progressive shifting
This technique—using only enough rpm to get into the next gear and still pull that next gear—keeps your engine’s rpm as low as possible, which means you’re using less fuel. In the low side of the transmission, you may be able to upshift at 1,000 rpm and still pull the next gear. In the high side of the transmission, road speed and horsepower demand increase, so you’ll need to use a little more rpm. You may be able to upshift at around 1,200-1,400 rpm while in the high side of the transmission, depending on the weight of the load you’re pulling.
4. Stay in high gear as long as possible
Don’t downshift too early and only downshift when necessary. For example, if you can get over a hill without downshifting and without falling below 1,100-1,200 rpm, do it. You use less fuel when you use fewer rpm. Instead of working to keep rpm within a certain range, let the engine do the work for you.
3. Limit idle time
Obviously, there are times when idling your engine is a necessity. The trick is to eliminate unnecessary idle time. For instance, warm up and cool-down times can be reduced. Minimize warm-up times by idling only while doing your pre-trip inspection. It’s okay to start moving the truck once the coolant temperature starts to rise. The engine will reach normal operating temperature as you drive. Just drive easy using only low power until normal temperature is reached. Cool-down times can be minimized by “cooling” the engine as you pull up to your stop. Before stopping, cool the engine by using only minimal power and driving easy. Here’s another good rule of thumb: Anytime you think you’ll be parked and away from your truck for more than five minutes, shut the engine off.
2. Know where you are going, and don’t miss your turn
We’ve all been there, missing a turn and wasting time and fuel. On some routes, the result can be especially ill-fated, requiring 30 minutes and 5 gallons just to get back to square one. Sometimes it comes down to being aware of your location and positioning yourself in the proper lane to make a turn.
Taking time to find where you have been scheduled, or refreshing your memory on a particular job location can be helpful. There is a map-link on the drivers page with commonly used plant locations.
Wasting fuel through lack of coordination is not smart either. Sometimes a quick call into dispatch to make sure you are headed to the correct location is in order. Is it raining when you arrived at your truck? Check in with dispatch to make sure the job your on is even going to start. Do you suspect your job just got cut off? Check with your job supervisor and dispatch so you don’t make an unnecessary trip back to a job site.
1. Slow down
Driving slower is the single most effective thing you can do to improve fuel mileage. It’s also the easiest and quickest method, requiring no special skills nor much thought. Plus, it improves safety, extends tire life and minimizes wear and tear on your truck (and on you).