Overdrive Extra

James Jaillet

Squeeze what you can from fuel economy

| June 08, 2012

As a calculator will easily tell you, when diesel costs $4, gaining just one mile per gallon in fuel economy (5 mpg to 6) will save you $16,000 each year, assuming a 120,000 mile per year driving schedule.

“And it’s income that basically goes straight into your pocket,” said Mike Bethea, director of independent contractors at Schneider National, for a piece in the May issue of Overdrive. “For the average owner-operator, that’s two months worth of work.”

As that article notes, there are quite a few strategies o-o’s can use to pick up their fuel economy and help keep their billfolds a little fatter. But take a look at the chart below and notice that the bulk of savings comes from making small improvements at the lower end of the scale.

Though averaging 8 mpg would be great, you don’t need to reach that point to make improvements worth the effort—there’s plenty to be gained by doing what you can to get 6 or 6.5 mpg.

MPG Gallons per year Cost per year Gallons saved* Savings per year*
5 24,000 $96,000 —— ——
6 20,000 $80,000 4,000 $16,000
6.5 18,460 $73,840 5,540 $22,160
7 17,140 $68,560 6,860 $27,440
7.5 16,000 $64,000 8,000 $32,000
8 15,000 $60,000 9,000 $36,000

*Compared to 5 mpg

ISX15 SmartAdvantage™ Powertrain A Smart Choice for CTI

Notice: Overdrive is transitioning to a new comment platform due to technical problems with the former commenting system. The new commenting system is now live. We are currently in the process of moving all of the comments from the old system into the new system. We appreciate your patience in the meantime.