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Need to cut fuel use? Cut your speed
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Energy that is created and then thrown away wastes fuel. But with electric hybrid vehicles, energy is reclaimed and stored for later use, which saves fuel.

Ask dealers about their most fuel-efficient tire designs for your application. Rib tires need less energy to flex than lug types, although lug designs may be needed for traction at work-sites. With only half the number of sidewalls to flex, double-wide tires—or dual-wheel axles on heavier trucks—improve fuel economy up to 5%.

MAINTENANCE: OPERATING ACCORDING TO DESIGN

A well-maintained vehicle burns less fuel than one in poor condition. Out-of-alignment tires wear prematurely. Since fuel supplies the energy that removes rubber, alignment can cut fuel use.

Engine fans can consume up to 55 hp on class 8 trucks. Install fan clutches to keep fans running only when needed.

Check your thermostat regularly. Make sure your radiator and coolers are free of debris so air flows through them freely. Also check fuel injectors regularly and use fuel additives to keep them clean.

With electronic engines, it's easy to run a diagnosis of the engine control unit (ECU) and its sensors. Just plug in a scan tool. Be sure all sensors are operating properly at every preventive maintenance interval. Sensor readings tell the ECU how much fuel is needed for every injection pulse. Faulty sensors waste fuel.

Planning, driving techniques, equipment, and maintenance determine your fuel mileage. Of the four, driving is the easiest to modify and the most effective in improving fuel economy.

—Paul Abelson is a former director of the Technology and Maintenance Council of the American Trucking Association, a board member of Truck Writers of North America, and active in the Society of Automotive Engineers.