5 Easy Ways to Improve Fuel Economy with Your Diesel Truck
There’s no denying that diesel prices have been a tad high lately. While they may have come back down, it's likely that they’ll probably go up again. It doesn’t help that heavy duty trucks require a lot of fuel, either. Luckily, there are some easy hacks to boost your fuel efficiency, and we’ve compiled a few of them below.
There are more than a few ways you can improve the fuel economy of your diesel truck. Upgrading your fuel injectors or replacing your worn turbocharger will have a great impact on your fuel economy.
But there's more to your truck than its parts. There's how you drive it.
Keep in mind that these are little hacks, and aren’t going to change anything drastically. They'll save you in the long run though, so it’s important to build up habits and be sure to use them whenever possible. Habits like these will boost your engine’s fuel efficiency, and save you a lot of money over time.
Need replacement parts for your diesel engine? Give our ASE certified techs a call and see how we can help you improve your fuel economy!
1. MINIMIZE IDLE TIME
Always turn your engine off when you don't need it running. This may seem obvious, but is an often overlooked way to save because it is easier to keep the engine running.
In fact, many people think it can be more efficient to keep the engine running rather than turning it off and on again, which can be true. According to the U.S. government, if your engine is going to be off for more than one minute, it’s more efficient to turn your engine off and start it back up again when you’re ready.
It doesn't take as much fuel to start your truck as it does to leave it idle. By turning your engine off when you don’t need it running, you can save $0.01-$0.02 per minute. If your engine is off, you’re not using fuel you don’t need.
2. MINIMIZE THE GAP BETWEEN TRUCK AND TRAILER
If you’re hauling, try to keep your truck as close to your trailer as possible. Adjust the hook-up to lessen the gap between the truck and trailer if you are able to.
The larger the gap between the truck and the trailer, the more pull the trailer will generate. By minimizing the gap, the easier the truck can work to pull the same amount. The easier the truck works, the less fuel it will use.
3. ACCELERATE SLOWLY
Yes, it can be fun to accelerate and rev the engine up. Sometimes you may want to accelerate quickly out of consideration for those driving behind you. However, if you want to build fuel efficiency habits, always accelerate at a constant speed.
The faster you accelerate, the more fuel your engine uses trying to get you up to speed. This means your engine is wasting fuel when you attempt to go a speed it's not ready to drive at yet. If you accelerate more slowly and give your engine time to switch gears, you’ll only use the fuel your engine needs.
4. TURN OFF THE CRUISE CONTROL
I know, I know - cruise control has been proven to improve fuel efficiency, right? Well, yes, kind of. Use cruise control when you’re driving on flat and even terrain. However, if you’re going to be driving somewhere that has hills (or any kind of inclines or declines) or a lot of traffic, you’re going to want to turn off the cruise control.
The reason that cruise control saves you fuel in flat areas if because it will keep you at a constant speed, so you’re not accelerating when you don’t need to. However, it cannot sense when you may be able (or even need) to lay off the throttle. So, if you’re going through hills, you may be able to coast for a while instead of using fuel.
If you’re driving where you may need to stop for traffic, you can see ahead of time that you need to stop, and can lay off the throttle instead of braking. Avoiding the pedal when you can will save you unneeded fuel. Cruise control may be able to solve human error, but it can’t replace human sense and reaction.
5. AVOID THE BRAKE
Whenever possible, avoid braking. If you have a heads up that you need to stop soon, simply take your foot off the pedal and coast for a bit instead of braking later.
The sooner you lay off the throttle, the more fuel you save. If you’re not on the pedal, you’re not using as much fuel. We often brake rather than coast to a stop because it is quicker. It is not practical to completely coast to a stop, but it will help your fuel efficiency if you don’t use the brake until you have to.
Keep in mind that gravity is your friend. When you are at the top of the hill, let the gravity carry the truck down the hill and part way up the other side rather than wasting your fuel.
If you use all of the hacks above consistently, you should notice a change in your fuel economy. If the change you see isn’t drastic enough for you, you may have to go another route. Depending on the condition of the parts in your engine, updating old diesel parts can really help. If you need a real boost in your fuel efficiency, consider replacing your old fuel injectors or turbocharger.
HHP doesn't just sell diesel engine parts; we understand the industry and what the people working in the industry need to know. If you are looking to drastically increase your fuel economy, call our techs at 844-215-3406 to see what we can do for you! You can also request a quote online. From rebuild kits to cylinder heads, we can help!
Originally Posted November 29, 2017; Edited August 13, 2019