Ways to Improve Fuel Economy

Your number one expense as an owner-operator is fuel. And with diesel prices hitting record highs, it’s important now more than ever to keep fuel efficiency top of mind.

There are lots of factors that help determine your fuel efficiency and cutting fuel expenses can help you make more money on every load.

Slow Down

Probably at the top of the list in terms of easiness and its effect on fuel efficiency is just slowing down.

Sometimes drivers have motivations to get the job done more quickly. Maybe they want to get to another job they have scheduled; maybe they have something personal going on; maybe they’re just tired and want to get the job done. But as a driver, you should know that you are directly impacting your wallet every time you go faster than is necessary.

Keep Records

Part of getting real fuel use improvement is keeping accurate records. You should definitely have accurate and exact logs of your trips, your maintenance, and your fill-ups. The more accurate the log is, the more insight you will get into your fuel consumption, and the more accurately you’ll be able to pinpoint improvements and issues.

You can keep records in plain old notebooks, or you can use one of the many trucking software applications available today.


Truckers want to be comfortable when they sleep, and many leave the truck idling overnight to run the AC and other accessories. Now obviously there is value in staying comfortable, and maybe that expense is worth it to you. But if you want to cut idling costs, there are other cheaper ways to stay comfortable, look to invest in an auxiliary power unit.

Perform Regular Truck Maintenance

Start a preventative maintenance routine to make sure you’re running efficiently. Low oil, a dirty air filter, or a compressor leak will all affect your mpg.

Consider Load Placement

When pulling flat decks, how you load the trailer will impact fuel economy.

If you’ve got something big and ugly and there are multiple pieces, put the big, ugly piece behind the neck. It creates a wind block and makes the load as streamlined as possible.

Be Selective

As an owner-operator, it’s imperative to only take loads that make sense.

Some heavy loads on bad routes with hilly terrain are just not profitable at today’s fuel prices.

Splurge on Aero

Roof fairings are incredibly effective at improving aerodynamics and decreasing fuel consumption.

Truck Specs

Always consider weight and maintenance when selecting or modifying a truck. Heavy engines and fancy chrome wheels look great, but add unnecessary weight, increase fuel costs, and rarely add to a truck’s resale value.

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