Next to labor expenses, the cost of fuel to operate big rigs is the most daunting challenge to the bottom line of any trucking company. A typical 18-wheel truck gets just under 6 gallons-per-mile and most average over 110,000 miles every year. It’s not hard to see that improvements in that MPG figure, no matter how modest, can exert a meaningful impact on profits when extrapolated over typical annual mileage. A truck maintained and operated for maximum fuel efficiency is also often a vehicle with a longer expected service life and fewer repair issues during that lifespan.
Photo by Randy Heinitz
The cost of running a big rig for a year can be as high as $185,000. Fully 38 percent of that expenditure goes for fuel. Though fuel prices fluctuate, fuel still remains the largest daily expense a trucking company or independent owner-operator has to absorb to stay on the road. Certainly, every fleet manager’s aware of what drivers are paying for fuel in total. But, are they sure each individual fill-up is as low as it could be? Frequently, fleet managers aren’t aware of any less-expensive option. The driver paid the price on the pump. It is what it is.