Federal Mandates Coming But There Are Other Ways To Be Greener As you know, mileage standards for automobiles have been legislated for some time now in the hopes that we can improve air quality and rely less on imported oil.  Now the move is on in Washington to do the same for heavy duty commercial trucks.  Owner operators who contract with trucking companies may soon have wider choices in the fuel efficiency of the rigs they buy. While the American Trucking Association thinks the pending legislation is a good idea, it does of course lead to more regulation of the trucking industry.  And sometimes regulation costs more money to the end users than the politicians expected. Mandating more fuel-efficient trucks is one way to reduce oil consumption but there are many other ways that truckers can save fuel every day without having to buy new rigs that supposedly get better mileage. For example, one of the methods that Overbye Transport employs to reduce fuel consumption for its customers’ loads actually has nothing to do with the tractor, but with the trailer.  It’s a two-tiered decking system called OverRide®, specially designed for customer who ship rolling stock such as ATVs, golf carts and the like. While traditional transport trailers can load 12 ATVs, Overbye’s OverRide® trailers will carry 24.  Shipping 12 ATVs from Minnesota to Texas in a traditional trailer will consume about $650 in fuel.  But with OverRide®, twice as many units can be shipped using the same amount of fuel, for a savings of about $650.00 in fuel.  Not to mention the “green” aspect of using less fuel and generating fewer emissions. So, the focus doesn’t have to be just on the tractor.  There are other ways to save fuel also, including lighter, more aerodynamic trailers and low rolling resistance tires, both of which Overbye Transport uses or endorses for its owner operators. What owner operators can do every day on the road can certainly affect mileage performance also. Rolf Lockwood, editor at large for the trade magazine Heavy Duty Trucking, recently published 12 ways for a long-haul trucker to get better mileage on his rig:

  1. Slow down.  Mileage at 55 mph is much better that at 70 mph.
  2. Spend at least 90% of your time in top gear.
  3. Use cruise control only on flat terrain.
  4. Use the lowest rpm possible.
  5. Use the engine’s full operating range before downshifting and stay at peak torque when accelerating.
  6. Avoid rapid deceleration or fast stops by not following too close.
  7. Coast to a stop whenever possible, gradually.
  8. Get access to your engine’s black box.  Use it to set benchmarks.
  9. Minimize engine idling and use the lowest idle speed possible.
  10. In rolling terrain use momentum rather than accelerating, to get you over short grades.
  11. In hilly areas use the engine’s full operating range before gearing down.
  12. Plan your route to maximize time on multi-lane highways.
One thing is for sure: the owner operator who is patient and more careful about driving habits will get significantly better mileage.  In terms of employment owner operators are self employed so they take fuel mileage seriously.  ]]>