When you are starting your own trucking business, there are many decisions both big and small that need to be made before you can haul your first load. This is the sixth in a six-part series covering the key financial considerations for starting your own trucking business.
Financial Consideration 6: Research ways to save on fuel
Fuel is one of the most significant financial considerations for owner-operators and trucking company owners when you start your own trucking business and continues to be with every mile you drive. With owner-operators spending on average between $50,000 – $70,000 per year on fuel maximizing all possible fuel savings can continually help your bottom line. Here are a few ways we have found that can help you save money on fuel.
Fuel cards are one of the most popular and easiest ways to save on fuel. There are several different fuel cards available, so finding the right one to fit your needs will take a little comparison-shopping. Below is a list of some of the benefits you could receive when using a fuel card:
- A savings of up to $.10 per gallon off of the cash price.
- Receive the cash price even when using the card (that could be another $.05-$.10 savings per gallon from the credit price).
- Discount on two load boards per month.
- National tire discount.
- Roadside assistance.
- Online tool to help manage fuel expenses.
More information on how fuel cards can help you check out our blog post The Skinny on Fuel Cards for Trucking Companies.
Fleet Cards and other credit cards with rewards/savings
If fuel cards are not the right fit for you and your business, another option to explore would be fleet cards and other credit cards that offer rewards and savings. Some of the large fuel chains (like Pilot Flying J) offer benefits such as free showers, free coffee, food discounts, and more with their fuel programs/reward cards.
Apps that show prices of fuel and locations of truck stops
With the help of a smartphone and your choice of a few free apps available on both the Apple App Store and Google Play, you can quickly get access to fuel prices, route information, and more.
Trucker Tools – Trucker Tools provides drivers with real-time fuel prices, a truck stop guide, a truck-specific routing, and fuel optimizer, weigh scale information, rest area information, truck wash locator as well as weather and traffic information.
Road Hunter – Road Hunter, includes a route planner with GPS, truck stop information including the number of available parking spaces, diesel prices, weather information, and weigh station information.
Quick Fuel – Quick Fuel gives you the option to quickly find a fuel station with fuel prices either nearby or by searing by state, highway or product. Additionally, there is an emailable map with your current location so you can check in with your broker, shipper, fleet manager, or family.
Fuelbook – Fuelbook connects you to diesel prices at over 7,000+ truck stops, roadside assistance, and repair shop finder, live parking status information, GPS check-in, and information on truck stop specials – all updated six times a day.
Optimizing your fuel efficiency
Running your equipment efficiently can help you save on fuel by lowering your cost per mile. A few things you can do to optimize your truck and equipment are:
- Reduce your weight by opting for trailers, wheels, brakes, cabs, and other components that are made of lighter materials such as aluminum and metal alloys.
- Check your tire pressure, a 10psi reduction in tire pressure can lower fuel economy from 0.5% – 1%. So make sure to keep an eye on your tire pressure.
- Reduce the trailer gap if possible, making a change in the trailer gap from 45 to 25 in. could help you improve fuel economy as much as 2%.
- Research fuel-efficient equipment and enhancements such as trailer skirts and low resistance tires.
- Driver training ensures you have a skilled driver behind the wheel, giving you as much as 35% better mpg when compared to less-skilled drivers according to the ATA’s Technology and Maintenance Council.
Hopefully, this has given you some things to consider as you research ways you can save money on fuel for your trucking business. If at any time you need help covering your fuel costs, please give us a call at (801) 676-0182 so we can discuss how freight bill factoring and fuel advances can help you and your business.