One of a food truck owner’s regular expenses is fueling their vehicle. Most of the trucks on the road today have not switched over to electric or bio-diesel driven engines, and are still running on standard petroleum products. For those of you in the majority, attempting to cut fuel consumption can be a bit like dieting; your success depends on setting an attainable goal, implementing a plan to reach your goal, and then making sure you stick to your plan. Just as it is when you challenge yourself to lose those extra 10 to 20 pounds, improving your fuel consumption requires that you stay disciplined and in many cases, rework your everyday habits.
Although you have no control over tax rates or the actual fuel prices, we have provided a few steps you can take to help lower your overall fuel costs.
Be sure to have regular maintenance completed – You’ll use less fuel if you keep your vehicle tuned up. Don’t forget about your vehicle’s wheel alignment either, you won’t be able to maximize your gas mileage if the truck isn’t driving straight.
Don’t be a lead foot – As a rule of thumb, each mph above 55 reduces fuel efficiency by 0.1 mph. Not only will you save fuel and improve safety, but you will also avoid having to pay those pesky speeding tickets.
Improve your driving habits – An estimated 30% of fuel costs are determined by engine and truck speed, both of these areas are controlled by the driver. Continually revving and braking your truck will lower your gas mileage. One way to do this is to use the cruise control (if the vehicle has one installed) on the highway to help maintain a constant speed. Remember you are not in a drag race, there is no need to drive like a speed demon while you are on the roads.
Keep an eye on your tires – Maintain the correct inflation pressure. Although President Obama was mocked for this suggestion during his ’08 campaign, it is still solid advice you should heed.
Take the shortest route – This may sound obvious but it doesn’t always happen. Go to Google Maps and plan your route for the day. If you can, plan to avoid congested, high-traffic areas (not high foot-traffic) that continually are filled with traffic snarls and stop-and-go driving.
Pay less for fuel – Saving a penny or two per gallon really adds up. Gasbuddy.com can assist you in shopping around for the best prices in your area. Another way to achieve this is to read your owner’s manual to find out which type of gas the manufacturer recommends for your vehicle. There is no need to pay for premium if all that is required is regular.
Use your air conditioning less – We know many of you live in warmer climates, but air conditioning makes the truck use more gas, so shut it off when you can and instead, use the vents.
We hope this article gives you something to think about the next time you have to fill up or are out on the open road. Not only will you save yourself some money, but you will be doing your part to help out the environment.