The Business of Trucking
What can you do to boost fuel mileage?
Fuel prices have dropped, and my clients are unhappy! You read that correctly: Fuel prices have dropped and the owner-operators who have been to my training are complaining. I suppose you want to know why.
I’m sure that every time you see fuel prices drop you are relieved. It’s natural to feel that way, but if you understand fuel mileage and fuel surcharges, you, too, will complain when fuel prices go down, and you’ll celebrate when they go up. I know this sounds crazy, but it’s true. Let me explain.
I use a benchmark of six miles per gallon. If you get less than this you should not be happy when fuel prices go up, but if you are getting better fuel mileage then you should show increased profits when fuel prices rise. Your No. 1 goal should be to work on improving your fuel mileage. Here are tire tips for saving fuel:
• Many factors regarding your tires can affect your fuel mileage, including style, brand, pressure, wheel alignment and wear.
• Tires that are almost worn out get better fuel mileage than new tires.
• Ribbed tires get better fuel mileage than lug tires.
• Generally speaking, higher tire pressure will result in better fuel mileage.
• Misalignment of wheels can cause a loss of fuel mileage.
• Wide-based or “super” singles get better fuel mileage than dual tires.
• Smaller tires get better fuel mileage than larger tires.
All of the items above improve fuel mileage by lowering rolling resistance. Tire brand and style can also have a significant impact on rolling resistance and therefore fuel mileage. Take a good, hard look at your tires and you may find that you could save as much as three to five tenths of a mile per gallon and put thousands of dollars back in your pocket. For more information and detail about these ideas, go to my Web site at www.masterthejourney.com.
Rising fuel prices will never eliminate the trucking industry—somebody will move the freight, and somebody will make money doing it. Fuel mileage will be the deciding factor on whether or not you can make a profit as an owner-operator. Your number one focus every day should be on improving your fuel mileage.
Until next month, “be safe, be profitable and master the journey.” If you have questions, call my office at (888) 262-8585.