Overdrive Fuel Tips: Some driving strategies can help save cash

Updated Nov 9, 2012

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36. Use truck-routing tools.
Choosing the shortest, most practical truck route can save hundreds of dollars a year in fuel. Spoken, turn-by-turn directions will take you directly to street-level addresses. With a navigation aid, savings of 10 miles or more a week is possible by eliminating out-of-route miles.

37. Avoid traffic tie-ups.
Rush hour, highway construction and traffic jams not only suck hours from your on-duty time, but they also require much deceleration and acceleration, which requires more fuel. Check Traffic.com or other sites each day to see potential construction and traffic on your route. Some smartphone apps and GPS units also provide real-time traffic information.

38. Plan fuel stops carefully.
Some in-cab navigation systems and smartphone apps include real-time information in their point-of-interest features that allow drivers to search for the nearest fuel locations and cheapest prices on their route.

39. Bypass weigh stations and toll booths.
Enrolling in programs such as PrePass and electronic toll collection systems enables you to avoid burning extra fuel by stopping and then accelerating back to speed.

40. Avoid revving the engine between shifts.
Ease into each new gear, and don’t be in a hurry to climb through them.

41. Adjust shifting patterns.
Download engine data to compare your shifting behaviors – RPMs at shift point – to the optimal RPM “torque bands” for your engine. Adjusting your shifting to fit the make and model of engine can make a big difference. Every 1,000-rpm reduction in engine speed delivers a 1 percent gain in fuel economy.

42. Run in your engine’s “sweet spot.”
Once you reach cruising speed, operating in the peak torque zone gives you optimum horsepower, so the engine runs most efficiently. It takes only about 200 horsepower to maintain 65 mph.

43. Maintain an extended following distance.
It helps to prevent unnecessary acceleration due to frequent braking.

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44. Anticipate traffic signals.
If you can approach slowly and avoid a complete stop, it saves fuel and reduces equipment wear.

45. Don’t punch the throttle.
Gradually put your foot into it, pretending there’s an egg between the pedal and the floorboard. Use smooth, steady accelerator inputs to avoid fuel burn spikes.

46. Lower your average highway speed.
Every mph over 55 equals a 0.1 mpg drop in fuel economy.

47. Use truck stops atop hills.
Driving uphill toward the truck stop allows natural deceleration and going downhill to re-enter the highway requires less fuel.

48. Avoid needless acceleration.
For example, don’t hit the throttle too much when approaching the crest of a hill. Instead, lay off the throttle and let the truck’s momentum carry it over. Watch the boost gauge for an exact read of what you’re doing.

49. Maximize use of cruise control.
That enables you to avoid wasteful use of the throttle to climb hills.