When Landstar Business Capacity Owner (BCO) Steve Van Dyke leased on to Landstar 15 years ago, he says his truck’s fuel economy was the last thing on his mind. Van Dyke says he knew he wasn’t getting great gas mileage but he didn’t pay much attention to the numbers and kept on trucking.
“My old truck, fully loaded, got 5.7 mpg. I knew it was terrible, but for a long time the number didn’t bother me,” says Van Dyke who is a Million Mile Safe Driver and Roadstar® honoree. “Fuel economy used to be something that I didn’t even think about.”
For years, Van Dyke says he used most of his fuel advance for every load he hauled. After deciding he had to do something to improve his fuel economy, Van Dyke started looking at the options available.
“I sat down and did the math. When it was all written out on paper, I couldn’t ignore it anymore,” says Van Dyke.
As the saying goes, “the proof was in the numbers.” Multiplying his average fuel economy by the number of miles he runs each year, then dividing that number by the average price of fuel, Van Dyke says he had a realization.
“Instead of spending more money to repair or modify my old truck, I realized if I bought a brand-new truck with better fuel economy, I would actually save money,” says Van Dyke. “The numbers don’t lie.”
Soon after calculating his savings, Van Dyke purchased a 2019 Kenworth. The truck, which is touted to run at a maximum fuel efficiency of 7.4 mpg is already improving Van Dyke’s bottom line.
“I’ve only been running with it for a few months, but noticed the difference and savings immediately,” he says. “I always have money left on my fuel card now and I seem to have more extra money left at the end of the month.”
Taking his fuel economy goals a step farther, Van Dyke says he’s also changed the way he operates to save on fuel. For example, the BCO says he drives slower and has purchased an auxiliary power unit (APU) to minimize idling.
“A new truck and the APU make a big difference, there is less idling in general, because new trucks run better. I also decrease my speed. Running about 7 miles per hour below the speed limit saves a lot of fuel,” says Van Dyke. “Don’t let the price tag of a new truck scare you. The fuel efficiency of a newer truck with no repair costs make it worth the investment.”