New To Trucking- Simple Question About Fuel Consumption

Topic 33797 | Page 1

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R W.'s Comment
member avatar

Hello all,

This is my first time posting, and I am a new member.

I am looking for more information about the trucking industry, as I have been speaking with friends who work in it.

I am a bit of a planner, and I am trying to learn as much as I can before really diving in. I've looked online in general about fuel consumption, but I get conflicting information. I'm from Texas originally, and so I want to know things like, on a trip between San Antonio and Denver, how much diesel would it take with a full load, vs an empty one; how long does that take? Do people usually go the full speed limit (85 miles/hour?) does this cost more fuel?

Thank you for any insights or shared experiences.

Stay safe,


BK's Comment
member avatar

RW, why are you asking? Are you planning on getting your own truck? If you are, beware of the owner/operator pitfalls.

Company drivers aren’t as concerned about mpg because the company pays the fuel bill. My average mpg for my truck is 7.9 mpg. This is for 170,000 miles of driving. It is an average from driving hilly terrains and flat terrains, loaded and empty. I try to get the best mpg I can, but I get no bonus for great mpg nor does the company bug me about it since I’m already in the top 20% in mpg.

But I’m curious why you would ask such a question and what you are planning to do.

Navypoppop's Comment
member avatar


There are too many variables that can affect fuel mileage. It depends on engine hp, the transmission choice, differential ratio, tire size and how hard you press the pedal

Loaded or empty, flat ground or hills, wind velocity and type of trailer you using. Hard to actually give an exact mpg but today's trucks seem to do a lot better than the ones I drove back in the 60s-70s.

BK's Comment
member avatar

Also, San Antonio to Denver is approx 930 miles. At 60mph, that would take 15.5 hours of driving. That is what my truck should do under normal circumstances. And no, 18 wheelers don’t usually go 85 mph. The fastest ones can go 75 but most trucks are speed limited well below 85. And yes, the higher the speed, the lower the mpg.

PJ's Comment
member avatar

Interesting you ask. As said many variables go into it.

I have one of the most inefficient trucks on the road. I pull a flatbed. I generally average 6.5 overall.

And no my truck is not goverened and I don’t baby it. I run between the speed limit and 5 mph over. Under 70 mph it does pretty good. 67-68 seems to be its best. Over 70 and it sucks up more fuel.

BK I have to tell you sir, most of the trucks on the road are not goverened. Only the mega carriers take on that practice. Those make up about 10 percent of the trucks out here.

Canada trucks are required to be goverened, not US trucks, at least for today.


Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
RealDiehl's Comment
member avatar

The companies I've driven for send fuel stop info along with each load. They try to give you the fuel stop option that is most cost effective. For example you might start a load assignment in an area where fuel is less expensive than in the area you are heading to for your delivery. Even if you have half a tank of fuel and are able to easily drive to your destination without getting more fuel, the company will have you top off your tanks in the area where fuel is cheaper in order to save money.

That being said, companies not all companies are very strict about fueling where they recommend you fuel. Prime, Inc. on the other hand is very strict about getting fuel where they tell you to get it. You need to call for approval before fueling anywhere else.

BK's Comment
member avatar

“BK I have to tell you sir, most of the trucks on the road are not goverened. Only the mega carriers take on that practice. Those make up about 10 percent of the trucks out here.”

PJ, I stand corrected. Or more accurately, I recline corrected at the moment. I tend to forget that the trucks with speed limiters are in the minority.

I get passed by many, many trucks that are able to do 70+ mph. As far as I know, I only drive on one section of interstate that is 80 mph, and that is a stretch of 44 west of Tulsa. Are there any drivers out there that do 85 anywhere?


Commercial trade, business, movement of goods or money, or transportation from one state to another, regulated by the Federal Department Of Transportation (DOT).


Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Davy A.'s Comment
member avatar

Interesting. As a company driver, milage is critical to me under our pay structure. We recieve 3 cpm on all miles for the month if we can maintain their milage. If we get all bonuses, its a total of 8 cpm. It adds up to between 875 to 1100.00 per month in bonuses. Given that our base pay is on the low end of the scale, it's critical.

Usually 7.1 to 7.3 but their mpg is based upon total dispatched miles divided by number gallons purchased in a 28 day period. Also were usually shorted about 10 percent of miles because we're paid by hhg, not hub miles. Meaning that we can only fuel for a 500 mile job, while the actual miles we will do might be 550, it adds up to making the goal realistically about 7.5 mpg.

I manage to get full bonuses every month. But I watch my milage like a hawk. Usually my truck says that I average 8 to 9. But so many variables exist. In terms of real world job cost, it makes sense to calculate mpg the way the company does.


Cents Per Mile

Drivers are often paid by the mile and it's given in cents per mile, or cpm.

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