What are your plans if the diesel fuel price continues to climb?
Everybody knows it, the diesel fuel price is at an all-time high right now. A perfect storm is taking place in the diesel market with dwindling diesel reserves and the drought on the Mississippi River pushing more shipments to rail and trucks. A rail strike leading to a rise in fuel prices is also a possibility. Diesel prices increased by 33% for November deliveries and the national average diesel price today is over $5.30 per gallon (source: EIA) and is expected to go up 15 to 20 cents within the next few weeks.
East Coast refineries are operating at maximum capacity. Diesel inventories in the Northeast markets are facing an acute crisis, down over 50% since last year. Any weather delay will cause a terminal to run out of product. There is no more supply forthcoming from refineries in the area. New England’s diesel supply issues were made worse when a refinery in Newfoundland, Canada shut down two years ago as the pandemic impacted on demand. The Midwest as well is seeing supply constraints, pushing up costs. Truckers and trucking companies are really feeling the pinch at the pump. Keep track of diesel fuel prices from AAA.
What is a professional trucker to do about the rising fuel costs?
- The consistent driving at high engine speeds and switching off the engine in traffic jams and stops can reduce fuel consumption by up to 20 percent.
- Cautious driving avoids constant braking
- Not constantly accelerating and braking but driving with foresight and using momentum while driving makes driving more economical. You can compensate for short-term speed fluctuations by taking your foot off the accelerator instead of braking and then accelerating again. Because after each gear shift, stepping on the gas pedal is necessary again – and that costs fuel every time.
- Anyone who keeps a sufficient distance from the vehicle in front not only drives more safely, but also delays braking and can use the engine braking effect. Most trucks are equipped with an overrun cut-off, which shuts off the fuel supply in this situation.
- Shift up quickly and drive at low revs
- The following applies on motorways and country roads: the lower the engine speed, the lower the consumption.
- Fuel consumption depends above all on the speed of the engine.
- Driving in the highest possible gear is a basic requirement for fuel-efficient driving. The following therefore applies: Accelerate quickly after starting, shift up the gears as quickly as possible and maintain the selected speed at low engine speeds. Even in city traffic, the driver can drive well in a higher gear, downshifting is not necessary if the engine accepts fuel without jerking.
- Switch off the engine for longer stops.
- When stopping for more than 30 seconds, for example at a railway crossing, the engine should be switched off.
- Air conditioning, window regulators or rear window or seat heating also have an impact on fuel consumption. The more current the alternator must generate, the greater its resistance to rotation. As a result, the combustion engine must use more power to drive it.
- Make sure that the tires have the tire pressure recommended by the manufacturer. Wide tires extend the braking distance and increase fuel consumption.
- Low-friction tires, on the other hand, have a lower rolling resistance than conventional models.
- Engage cruise-control.
- Cruise control minimizes speed changes that can degrade the fuel economy.
- Avoid driving through Rush-Hour.
- Stop-and-go traffic can put a damper on diesel fuel mileage
All of this is not difficult to do once you get the hang of it, and combinations of the above will surely reduce the fuel consumption of your vehicle.
Tools to help truckers with rising fuel prices
Professional truckers can use conventional devices such as navigation systems, etc to help stay on the right roads and save on fuel by finding the shortest and fastest routes. Many apps also exist to find the cheapest fuel along your along the selected route.
These tools work best in combination with a load board app such as 123Loadboard that offers many tools and a free fuel card to help save up to 60 cents per gallon at the pumps.
Profit Calculator is a feature to help carriers quickly see the profitability of a load. Watch video.
When searching for loads and building your best route, it is always important to ensure that you have backhaul opportunities in order to minimize your empty miles and profit. Watch video.
Mileage, routing, and tolls
Our Mileage Calculator, powered by PC*Miler, is a premium feature that provides safe and reliable commercial truck-specific routing, mileage and mapping on every load listed on 123Loadboard. Watch video.
In these unsteady times for the logistics industry, it’s important to have the right tools at the right time. 123Loadboard’s mobile app is available for free download and can help you save on rising diesel fuel costs.