Understanding Semi-Truck Fuel Efficiency

With diesel prices rising, fuel efficiency is becoming more of a priority than ever, especially in the trucking industry. Commercial motor vehicles are not the most fuel-efficient rigs on the market. The average semi-truck gets about 6.5 miles per gallon (MPG), while a typical automobile receives about 25 MPG. However, minor changes can result in significant fuel savings over time, considering how many miles a long-haul trucker travels, which is often more than 100,000 per year. Read on to learn about semi-truck fuel efficiency and how you can improve yours.

What is Fuel Efficiency?

Fuel efficiency, measured in miles per gallon, describes how far a vehicle can travel with a certain amount of fuel. Motor vehicles with better fuel economy consume less fuel to drive the same distance as vehicles with poor fuel economy, reducing wasted fuel. Driving a fuel-efficient rig saves you money, reduces your carbon footprint, and lowers your vehicle’s dependence on oil. 

Tips For Improving Semi-Truck Fuel Efficiency

Truck drivers can take full advantage of a haul by being aware of their fuel mileage. Knowing how many MPG your semi-truck gets will minimize costs and improve travel and delivery time.


Follow these five tips to increase fuel efficiency in your semi-truck:

  1. Regulate Your Speed

Maintaining a consistent speed and avoiding major accelerations or decelerations will result in consistent fuel usage. For every mile per hour (MPH) increase above 55 MPH, semi-truck fuel efficiency reduces by 0.1 MPG. Additionally, accelerating from 0 to 65 MPH can use up to half a gallon of fuel. Keeping your speed consistent will help you avoid these two problems. Driving under 65 MPH will also improve your safety and that of other drivers on the road. 

  1. Use Cruise Control

Taking advantage of cruise control is another way to regulate your speed. Cruise control keeps your vehicle at a steady pace, saving you up to 6% in fuel consumption throughout your route. It is important to note that drivers should only use this function when road conditions are safe.

  1. Stay in a High Gear

Staying in one gear for as long as possible will also help improve your vehicle’s fuel efficiency. Aim to stay in top gear at least 85% of the time while on the highway. Additionally, make as few gear shifts as possible and maintain a revolutions per minute (RPM) range of 1250 to 1350.

  1. Reduce Idle Time

Avoiding idling when possible will help reduce wasted fuel as well. Every hour of idle time can burn a gallon of diesel and decrease your semi-truck fuel efficiency by 1%. It is best practice to shut the engine off if you plan to park for more than five minutes. Many companies have auxiliary power units (APUs) in their vehicles that allow you to maintain a comfortable temperature without idling. 

  1. Check Tire Pressure

Regularly checking your tire pressure is another good practice for not only improving your fuel efficiency, but also improving the safety of your vehicle and the lifespan of your tires. For a 10 pounds per square inch (PSI) drop in tire pressure, your vehicle’s mileage reduces by 1%. Under-inflated tires also generate more heat, causing them to weaken and eventually break. Make tire pressure checks part of your pre-trip inspection routine, and keep a gauge in your vehicle to check pressure while on the road.

Get Started With a Truck Driving Career Today

The demand for truck drivers is growing. There is no better time to join the industry than now, and Phoenix Truck Driving School can help you get started. Our commercial driver’s license (CDL) program in Albuquerque combines classroom, range, and on-the-road training from experienced instructors to help our students graduate in as little as four weeks.

Contact us to start earning your CDL today.


Benefits Of Customizing Your Semi-Truck

Your semi-truck is your home away from home when you’re a truck driver, so you want it to be as safe and comfortable as possible. One of the advantages of being an owner-operator is having the freedom to set up your rig however you like. Even if you are a company driver, there are ways you can personalize your vehicle without making permanent changes. Customizing your semi-truck can be very beneficial, and we will discuss a few of the benefits in the blog below.


Five benefits of customizing your semi-truck include:

1. Feeling Comfortable in Your Rig

You will spend a lot of time in your vehicle as a trucker, especially if you are an over-the-road (OTR) driver. Truck customization can help you fight homesickness and make the long routes more comfortable. Bring along mementos like pictures of family members, friends, and events you cherish to remind yourself of home and motivate yourself while you’re on the road. Making cosmetic changes to your vehicle’s interior will also boost your comfort level. Consider replacing high-contact points, such as the steering wheel or shifter knob, with more ergonomic designs.

2. Improving Safety

Customizing your semi-truck can not only improve your comfort level, but it can also improve your safety. Changes like installing a light bar, custom LED lights, or a new navigation system make driving at night or in a new area a breeze. Another safety improvement you can make is tinting your windows. Tinted windows reduce sun glare and keep the interior of your vehicle cool during the hot summer months, all while upgrading your look.

3. Expressing Your Style

Another benefit of personalizing your rig is expressing your unique style. A new paint job or decals is one of the most popular ways to customize your semi-truck. When you turn your rig into a canvas, you will catch people’s eyes on and off the highway. Keep it simple with stripe detailing, or go all out with a custom paint job. Additionally, an added advantage of customization is that certain additions, such as a grille cover and chrome accents, can protect the exterior of your vehicle while also fitting your new paint style.

4. Encouraging a Healthy Lifestyle

Life on the road doesn’t have to be unhealthy. Installing interior electronics can make all the difference in staying healthy during long hauls. Customizing your cab with small kitchen appliances like a fridge or freezer, slow cooker, electric skillet, and two-burner stove allows you to enjoy home cooking while driving. These appliances can also decrease your stopping time, which in turn will improve your efficiency.

5. Getting Better Sleep

Healthy eating isn’t the only aspect of a healthy lifestyle. Getting enough sleep each night is also crucial to your well-being and safety while driving OTR. Upgrading your semi-truck with a personalized sleeping area can improve your sleep quality. Include items like a mattress pad, comfortable sheets and bedding, and a supportive pillow to help ensure you get high-quality sleep during long hauls. 

Your Road to A Professional Truck Driving Career

On the road to becoming a professional truck driver, the first stop is earning your commercial driver’s license, and attending a high-quality truck driving school will help you do so. At Phoenix Truck Driving School, we make obtaining your CDL manageable. Our programs have flexible schedules to accommodate every lifestyle, and we also offer an accelerated program that can get you on the road in as little as four weeks.

Contact one of our advisors today to start earning your CDL.

Understanding Semi-Truck Tire Maintenance

Maintaining semi-truck tires is an essential part of a commercial truck driver’s job. Not only does it ensure your safety, but it also boosts fuel economy and improves the lifespan of your vehicle. A little maintenance goes a long way and can save you from tire failure while on your route. 


Follow these five tips for semi-truck tire maintenance:

1. Perform Thorough Pre-Trip Inspections

Pre-trip inspections are one of a trucker’s best tools for preventing problems before they occur, including tire failure. This inspection is a thorough check of your truck, trailer, and load to ensure everything is in the correct working order before departure. In addition to pre-trip inspections, you should look over your rig at least once a day while on the road. Taking a few extra minutes before and during every trip to inspect your vehicle thoroughly could save you hours of downtime due to a flat tire or worse.

2. Rotate Tires & Align Wheels Regularly

Checking tire tread and wheel alignment should be part of your commercial truck maintenance routine. Poor alignment and uneven tire tread are two huge factors in premature tire wear, so it is crucial to regularly check these two aspects of your vehicle. As a general rule, rotate your tires every 6,000-8,000 miles to distribute tread evenly, and perform a wheel alignment every 80,000-100,000 miles, or whenever you feel the steering wheel pull to one side or the other when you’re driving. 

3. Maintain a Consistent Tire Pressure

Maintaining consistent air pressure will also expand the lifespan of your tires. Overinflated tires wear excessively on the center tire treads, while an underinflated tire will wear the outside treads, both of which can lead to internal structural damage. Make sure to check your tire pressure before you hit the road, especially if you are driving in below-freezing conditions. 

4. Keep Tires and Wheels Clean

Washing your tires and wheels is another best practice to add to your maintenance checklist. Not only does it make your rig look nice, but it is also good for the health of the tires and wheels themselves. Make it a habit to wash away road salt, grease, and grime once you return home from each route. 

5. Practice Safe Driving Habits

Lastly, one of the major contributors to poor tire performance is how a trucker drives. Forming and practicing safe driving habits will help you avoid flats and blowouts over time. A few tips for safe driving are maintaining a consistent speed on the road, avoiding potholes, braking slowly, avoiding accelerating too quickly, and using caution when driving around curbs.

Learn Safe Driving Habits in Albuquerque

At Phoenix Truck Driving School in Albuquerque, our experienced instructors teach our students the skills necessary to succeed in the trucking industry. This includes pertinent safety information and key maintenance topics, such as how to perform pre-trip inspections and care for commercial truck tires properly.

To learn how we can help you earn your commercial driver’s license (CDL) in as little as four weeks, contact us today.


Weigh Station 101

To keep themselves and others safe on the road, commercial truck drivers must follow all state and federal regulations, including truck weight limits. Most commercial vehicles need to stop at weigh stations, known to truckers as “chicken coops,” to ensure compliance. If you’re a rookie truck driver ready to encounter your first chicken coop, this blog outlines the basics of weigh stations. 

The Purpose of Weigh Stations

Most states require all trucks and commercial vehicles with a gross weight of over 10,000 pounds to stop at every open weigh station located along their route. The purpose of these stations is safety. Heavy semi-trucks are harder to control and more dangerous on the roads, both for the trucker and other drivers around them. Safety is especially a concern in the winter when road conditions are less than favorable. Weight stations also help prevent damage to roadways due to overweight trucks. 

Weigh Station Process

Once you are familiar with the process, navigating weigh stations will easily become part of your routine as a trucker. The process can be broken up into three main phases: approaching the weight station, weighing your rig, and inspecting the vehicle.

Phase One: Entering the Weigh Station

As you drive along the highway on your route, you will see roadside signs indicating that a weigh station is approaching. If the station is closed, you do not have to stop but if the station is open, you are required to exit. After pulling off the highway, follow the posted weigh station signs or instructions from officials that lead you to the scale. 

Phase Two: Weighing the Truck

As you drive toward the scale, follow the posted speed limit and instructional signs. Some scales require you to bring your vehicle to a complete stop, while others can function if your truck is moving slowly. Once on the scale, it will check your total weight and how much weight is on each axle. 

Phase Three: Inspecting the Truck

After you weigh your vehicle, your Department of Transportation (DOT) number is entered into a computer system to ensure your log is accurate. Your safety rating, equipment, and log book will also be verified. If you pass over the scale at the correct speed with an underweight load and pass the inspection, you will be sent to the bypass lane and can continue your route.

What Happens If Your Truck is Overweight?

If the scale indicates that your truck is overweight, you must pull over to the side until a solution is determined. Federally, this is over 80,000 pounds, although some states have lower gross limits. Your motor carrier can either purchase an overweight permit or send a relief driver to take the excess weight. You will not be allowed back on the road until the issue is resolved. An overweight assessment comes with a citation, fine, and points against your Compliance, Safety, and Accountability (CSA) score. 

How to Avoid an Overweight Citation

The best way to ensure that your semi-truck is within the weight limit is to be prepared. Completing a thorough pre-trip inspection before you head out on each route is the best way to do so. You should also weigh your truck after loading. Many truck stops have scales, and if weight is an issue, you can adjust your axles or go back to the shipper to avoid an overweight citation at a weigh station.

Start Your Commercial Trucking Career Today

The demand for truck drivers is growing. If you are interested in starting your career in commercial truck driving, let our experienced instructors at Phoenix Truck Driving School teach you everything you need to know. When you earn your commercial driver’s license at our Albuquerque location, we can get you on the road in as little as four weeks

To learn more about our available CDL programs, contact us today.