Fuel Saving Tips

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Tracy W.'s Comment
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I ran across some fuel saving tips on CR England's web site, and am wondering what you more experienced drivers think of them or if you had additional ideas:

CR England Fuel Saving tips

I see lots of companies give fuel saving bonuses, and I'm up for any of that action I can get.

guyjax(Guy Hodges)'s Comment
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While companies spend millions of dollars in trying to prefect fuel mileage and save as much as they can but O/O's or people that are ignorant think they get better fuel mileage running fast. Hard to argue with physics. The faster the engine turns the more fuel it uses.

Old School's Comment
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Tracy, this is my take on the fuel saving bonus pay: All these companies want to save fuel, and that is certainly understandable. It is an astronomical expense in this business.

My truck is governed down to a certain speed, as are most fleets now days. I'm not wasteful, and I take it easy on my truck when I'm going through the gears in low range - you won't see my truck jumping up and down when I'm taking off from a dead stop, but when I'm rolling down the highway I'm giving it all she's got. If I can avoid road construction that's going to tie me up for a lengthy time I do it, if I need to take a different route than I've been dispatched on to make things happen quicker I do it.

No one has ever once gotten on to me for getting things done in a timely manner. You make money in this business by getting more done than the other guys, and you'll be surprised at how the dispatchers will give you the "good stuff" when they know they can depend on you to make it happen. Why go for a $25.00 fuel bonus on your paycheck when you can get an extra $150.00 because you got on to an extra load because you operated in an efficient way by understanding the log book rules and you were willing to push yourself a little harder than the average driver so you could make something happen a day ahead of schedule?

There are a lot of ways to get more done than the other guys, you just have to be smarter than the "average" truck driver. Much of the time I sleep right in my receivers parking lot (if possible) that way I'm the first one unloaded in the morning and therefore the first one ready to be dispatched on to another load. I often times call ahead to my receiver and tell them I've got a driver that I need to see if we can get him in there today rather than tomorrow, because we've got another pressing load we need for him to pick up. Even though I don't claim it, they often think I'm a dispatcher and are willing to accommodate me. I'm never dishonest, and there really are loads available and waiting on drivers, so there you have it. These type tactics may work better for a flat bed operator, but I'm sure other type drivers have their own little ways of getting things moving. I don't mind sharing a few tricks with you, and I hope it helps you get a better understanding of how things work in this business.

As far as using less fuel goes, I don't see any benefit to the driver, unless he/she is just not real motivated to get things done. Getting something delivered early so you can get on to something else is a much better piece of the action in my book.

Dispatcher:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.
Tracy W.'s Comment
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Thanks for the feedback guys. I really appreciate it!

guyjax(Guy Hodges)'s Comment
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Dave that can work for a lot of people but for me I am on a dedicated 3000 miles a week. It does not matter how early I run because the minute I leave the house from my restart I already have 4 to 5 trips pretty planned on me getting me right back to the house for my next restart. Can't hurry it up none. Besides with the way I am planned out I don't have to be in a hurry. Have less stress. I get to relax and actually watch the world go by my window. Don't have to worry about parking ever cause I can shutdown when I want instead of fighting for parking place and get up the next morning and finish up my miles. Don't make mistakes due to trying to push every mile I can.

I run 62 mph everywhere I go cause I have to but want to know the funny thing? The same people that run past me are the same ones that stop 5 to 6 times and still only get the same miles done for that drive shift. 600 to 650 miles a day.

Want to know the difference between 6.5 mpg and 7.0 mpg? $5000 a year. Every .1 mpg equals $1000 a year. I know that does not say much spread out over the whole year but it adds up.

Daniel B.'s Comment
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I for one don't really care about my fuel consumption or fuel bonuses. But that doesn't mean I destroy my accelerator and like Old School said, I don't jump from dead stops. But I will not be taking my time. For one month I actually watched my fuel like a hawk. I got a 100$ fuel bonus, but about two loads less for the month. Since then I stopped because its not worth it for me. I run hard and try to deliver early so I can get the next load. The only bonus I care about is idle bonus and safety bonus. But my #1 priority is finding ways to drive extra miles. And going slower doesn't add up for me.

Brett Aquila's Comment
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Some awesome advice from the guys!!!

Those tips on CR England's site about fuel mileage are very good tips. They work. But what the guys are rightfully saying is that you make your money by keeping those wheels turning. The rest is usually trivial.

A lot of people get hung up on bonuses and detention pay. Detention pay is what companies will pay you when you're being delayed at a customer. With most companies it's nearly impossible to get them to pay it out like they're supposed to, and in the end it doesn't amount to a hill of beans.

The bonuses that companies have are often very difficult to achieve and pay very little anyhow.

So drive safe and drive smart, but don't let yourself get hyper-focused on little details that don't amount to much. I've seen a lot of people do this and they wind up stressed out and p*ssed off all the time because the company didn't give them $20 in detention pay or something stupid like that. Then they go and start screaming at their dispatcher , who promptly puts them "in the doghouse" and they sit for a day or two losing hundreds of dollars because they made a fuss over $20.

I've also seen guys that get hyper-focused on idle time. They'll sleep in a freezing cold or blistering hot truck to keep that idle time down. Trucking is exhausting enough without making yourself uncomfortable and losing sleep over a $100/month idle time bonus. It isn't worth it.

So do what you can to make yourself a solid paycheck each week, but keep things in perspective. Quality of life out there is important, and your real money will come from keeping those wheels turning.

Dispatcher:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
guyjax(Guy Hodges)'s Comment
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I am glad I don't have to push as hard as everyone else seems to need to do. I never get fuel bonus but I don't care. I never get idle bonus cause there is not one. Even though I get 7.43 mpg everywhere I go with loads ranging between 42000 and 45000 I just do my job and get the loads there on time. Almost all my loads are JIT(just in time) so pushing extra hard will not work. But I like having 4 to 5 preplanned loads.

Tracy W.'s Comment
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Some awesome advice from the guys!!!

A lot of people get hung up on bonuses and detention pay. ... With most companies it's nearly impossible to get them to pay it out like they're supposed to, and in the end it doesn't amount to a hill of beans.

...

So drive safe and drive smart, but don't let yourself get hyper-focused on little details that don't amount to much.

...

I've also seen guys that get hyper-focused on idle time. They'll sleep in a freezing cold or blistering hot truck to keep that idle time down. Trucking is exhausting enough without making yourself uncomfortable and losing sleep over a $100/month idle time bonus. It isn't worth it.

...

So do what you can to make yourself a solid paycheck each week, but keep things in perspective. Quality of life out there is important, and your real money will come from keeping those wheels turning.

Very good advice, Brett. Thanks! I really appreciate everyone's advice, and Guyjax, I can see from both your comments and Brett's that stressing out just leads to tired, cranky and unsafe.

I don't want to be there. I've had enough constant stress in other jobs. I would much rather enjoy what I do. That doesn't mean I won't run hard, I will. I'm just not going to be angry about it.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Even though I get 7.43 mpg everywhere I go with loads ranging between 42000 and 45000 I just do my job and get the loads there on time.

Pretty nice mileage for not trying, Guyjax! :) The company I'm at gives 3 tier bonuses, and all for less mileage than that.

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