How to Get Better Gas Mileage While Pulling a Trailer

Published on
1/17/2024
Closeup of someone fueling their pickup truck for shipping LTL cargo

Trucks are great utility vehicles, but they aren’t known for their fuel economy. They use a lot of gas because it takes more to carry more. However, just because trucks need to use a lot of fuel to haul, that doesn’t mean you can’t optimize your fuel efficiency.

With today’s gas prices, every gallon counts. Here are some ways you can optimize your truck's gas mileage and increase your profits.

The Problem With Towing

It’s simple physics. Heavy objects take more energy to lift than lightweight ones. The same is true for trucks. More weight means more energy and more energy means more fuel. Studies show that gas mileage when towing decreases 1%-2% percent per 100 pounds.

The issue with towing is that it adds more weight and strain to your vehicle. It’s inevitable, so improving fuel economy should be on your mind while towing.

Slow and Steady Wins the Race

We all know the saying, “8 you’re great’ 9 you're mine.” Speeding is so normalized, but in actuality, it doesn’t do much. In fact, it does more harm than good.

Speeding uses a lot of gas, and it doesn’t actually save you much time. One study found that the difference in time between going 75 miles per hour and going 65 miles per hour was one minute every 10 miles. 

Your time and money budget won’t break even while speeding during long excursions. Take it easy instead.

Gentle braking and acceleration will also help improve your gas mileage. Look for areas you can coast, and when you accelerate, do so slowly. If you accelerate slowly and maintain your speed at roughly the posted limit, you’ll be able to brake softly. This keeps you safe and will also help your brakes last longer.

Save money on fuel and maintenance by not pushing your truck to the limits.

Check Your Tires

When your tires are filled to the correct pressure, your gas mileage improves. Not only that, but correct tire pressure means your vehicle is safer and your tires will last longer.

Keep track of your tires and fill them up when you need to. This includes your truck tires and your trailer’s tires. It might not be a bad idea to check your tires every time you get gas. Hauling heavier loads can decrease tire pressure quicker over time.

Tires aren’t the only part of your vehicle that affects gas mileage though.

Stay On Top of All Maintenance

There’s a lot that goes into gas mileage. Staying on top of your vehicle's maintenance keeps it running smoothly, which will help keep your gas mileage low—it's just one way that regular maintenance saves you loads of money over time. 

Maintenance to stay on top of includes:

  • Filters
  • Motor oil
  • Brakes
  • Spark plugs

Proper maintenance not only keeps your fuel costs lower, but they keep your truck and trailer on the road.

Know Your Towing Capacity

Towing more than your truck and trailer are graded to carry can be dangerous. Your truck's gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) is not just a suggestion—it’s the law. Going over your GVWR is illegal and you can be fined quite a bit of cash for it. This goes for your trailer, as well.

But that’s not the only reason to not go over your towing capacity. When you do go over, you push your engine to the limits and bleed fuel. You’ll be using far more fuel than you need to. Doing this will also harm your suspension and drivetrain while making your vehicle harder to control.

Don’t go over your towing limit, it can only damage your vehicle and your wallet.

Make Money While Driving

Being a hotshot driver requires a lot of truck and trailer maintenance. The money you will earn as a driver with Open Road will exceed what you’ll spend on gas and maintenance. And if you follow these simple rules, you’ll be setting yourself up for success.

Reach out to Open Road to start driving today. It’s easy to sign up, and easy to use.

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