Truck drivers are the lifeblood of America’s freight industry. According to the American Trucking Association, over 72.2% of all the freight tonnage moved in the U.S. is carried on trucks.
Keeping costs down is key across the entire logistics industry, including trucking, where even the tiniest savings accumulate. Here are 5 ways truck drivers can save money on the road.
Planning Routes Efficiently
Efficient route planning is essential for saving money. The most direct route isn’t always the most cost-effective, and sat-navs can’t be entirely relied upon for finding cost-efficient routes.
In addition, factors such as road conditions, traffic congestion, and steep grades can significantly affect fuel consumption.
For instance, avoiding urban areas is essential. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, “aggressive driving behaviors,” such as sudden braking and acceleration typical in stop-and-go traffic, can lower gas mileage by roughly 15% to 30%.
Efficient route planning can also reduce the risk of delays due to unforeseen road incidents. Some roads may have a reputation for congestion or other incidents – avoiding them can save both time and money.
Regular Vehicle Maintenance
Keeping trucks in top condition is paramount to reducing costs on the road.
Regular vehicle maintenance involves regular oil changes, tire rotations, and checking fluid levels and brake systems. For example, the U.S. Department of Energy suggests that changing motor oil and air filters can boost mileage by an average of 4%.
In addition, maintaining correct tire pressure increases fuel efficiency and cuts costs – for every 10 psi that a tire is underinflated, truck MPG decreases by around 1%. Maintenance is also critical to keeping drivers safe.
Routine checks can prevent minor issues from developing into major, costly repairs and help maintain optimal fuel efficiency. Furthermore, a well-maintained truck reduces the risk of roadside breakdowns, which could result in costly towing charges and delays.
Smart Fuel Buying
Fuel is often the most significant expense for truck drivers.
Even a slight difference in price per gallon can add up to considerable savings over an individual journey. If you then scale that up to the entire fleet, it’s clear that optimizing fuel purchases is one of the most effective cost-saving strategies haulers can implement.
Fuel prices are more likely to vary from state to state, with California, Alaska, Nevada, and Oregon heading up the most expensive states for gas. However, price variation between cities is still common.
Drivers can use apps and websites that provide real-time updates on the lowest fuel prices in their vicinity or along a planned route. Planning refueling stops to take advantage of lower prices can result in significant fuel savings.
Balancing Load Effectively
Load distribution significantly impacts a vehicle’s performance and fuel consumption. Overloading or unevenly distributing the cargo can cause the truck to work harder, increasing fuel consumption and wear and tear. Properly balancing the load can reduce these risks and cut costs. Keep in mind that you have to be compliant with weight regulations to avoid penalties.
Managing Food and Lodging Expenses
Life on the road involves more than just driving – truckers also need to eat and rest.
Eating out and staying at hotels can quickly become costly. Many truck drivers save money by packing their meals, investing in portable cooking equipment, and utilizing truck stop facilities. Some truck stops also offer discounts for CDL drivers that are well worth taking advantage of.
Join the Team at Beacon Transport
Beacon Transport is exceptionally experienced in transporting non-hazardous dry freight across the Southeast, Midwest, and Southwest.
If you’d like to learn more about our company or are interested in working with us or becoming a driver, contact us here.