There’s no getting around the fact that towing equipment is going to increase your fuel usage. Over the years, lots of heavy towing can drain your budget and lead to lots of lost dollars at the gas station. You need to go where you need to go, but what if there was a way to tow in a more wallet-friendly way? Understanding the different elements that affect fuel economy, and knowing the actions you can take, can go a long way in minimizing the pinch at the pump.
If you have a trailer, there’s a good chance you’re hauling heavy. The more weight, the more energy your vehicle needs to both accelerate and decelerate, especially through hilly terrain. Starting, stopping and slowing down with a full load will increase your gas usage. According to the EPA, every extra 100 pounds of weight can reduce your MPG by about 1%. The reduction is based on the percentage of extra weight relative to the vehicle’s weight, and luckily affects smaller vehicles more than larger ones.
Every vehicle will offer a slightly different optimal fuel economy that varies in speed depending on the size and weight of the vehicle. However, fast driving, as well as tumultus driving leads to a big spike in fuel consumption due to tire rolling as well as air resistance. Speeding, rapid braking or acceleration can greatly lower your gas mileage, by an incredible 15% to 30% at highway speeds and 10% to 40% in stop-and-go traffic. According to the EPA, using telematics and driver data can change user behavior that can improve gas mileage by 10%. Plus, it’s just safe driving! Controlled and steady driving keeps you and others safe.
Believe it or not, the shape of things can affect fuel mileage through the act of aerodynamics. Simply, aerodynamics describes the way that air hits and moves around objects. When you drive your vehicle, trailer and equipment, the air around it is forced to move, and air pushing against your car can cause your vehicle to spend more energy moving forward. Aerodynamics start to have a more noticeable effect on a vehicle at around 50 mph. The bigger and boxier your vehicle, trailer and equipment you’re towing the more drag you’ll experience. Avoiding consistent stopping, starting, accelerating and decelerating will improve this effect.
If you ever rode a bike with deflated tires, you’ll understand just how much more energy you need to get moving and stay moving. It works the same for a vehicle– tire health and condition plays a sizable role in the amount of energy your vehicle will use. According to the Department of Energy, 20% to 30% of a vehicle’s fuel consumption and 24% of road vehicle CO2 emissions are tire-related. The simplest way to make sure your tires aren’t dragging your wallet through the mud is to keep all of your tires (vehicle and trailer) properly inflated. A tire that is 20% deflated can increase a vehicle’s fuel consumption by 10%. While overinflation is dangerous, low tire pressure will cause your truck to use much more energy to get going because there is more friction hitting the road.
Drive Slow and Consistent When Possible
If you have the need for speed, you may be costing yourself some extra money at the pump. Keeping a steady pace is ideal whenever possible, and driving under 50 mph will improve your fuel economy compared to driving over 50 mph, or quickly braking and accelerating. Plan your journey with as few stops and in areas with a lower volume of traffic whenever possible to minimize energy and gas usage. Attempt to both decelerate and accelerate slowly and keep your truck from having to come to complete stops.
Keep Up On Regular Maintenance
Regular, preventative maintenance is so important not only for protecting your vehicle and trailer, but protecting your wallet as well. Maintaining the health of your truck and trailer will keep you moving optimally and efficiently, which saves you money and headache in the long run. If your vehicle operates poorly, it will directly impact your fuel usage. An ignored necessary repair can cause increased stops at the gas station. Stay ahead of your repairs and your wallet will thank you!
Your Trailer Partners
Collaboration is the foundation of our work, and we want to work with you to make sure your investment is tailored to your specific needs. Towmaster Trailers partners with contractors and rental companies across the country to provide resilient, versatile trailers that offer long-term ROI, even through rigorous usage. If you want to know more about how to make equipment investments that will last for years, reach out to our team today.