Semi Trucks Gas Mileage (Complete Guide)

Semi Trucks are big, heavy, and shaped like a box, so they are never going to achieve great gas mileage.

But just what kind of gas mileage do they get? And which semi-trucks get the best mpg?

In this article, we answer some of the most common questions people have about the gas mileage of semi-trucks.


What Is The Average Gas Mileage For A Semi Truck?

On average, semi-trucks get around 6.5 miles a gallon. However, this number can be significantly impacted depending on the make and model and whether the semi is driving up an incline, carrying a heavier load, or driving downhill.

How To Improve A Semi Trucks Gas Mileage

If possible, implement the following tips into your daily driving habits. In doing so, you will likely see an improvement in your semi truck’s fuel efficiency.

1. Reduce Your Load

Reducing the weight of a semi-truck can have a significant impact on its fuel efficiency. The heavier the truck, the more fuel it will consume. For this reason, it is important to take steps to reduce the weight of the load whenever possible. One way to do this is by choosing lighter materials for packaging and shipment. Another way to reduce weight is by optimizing the truck’s route to avoid hills and inclines. Whenever possible, it is also advisable to consolidate shipments to reduce the number of trips required.

2. Watch Your Speed

The faster a semi-truck is moving, the more fuel it will consume. This is because wind resistance increases exponentially with speed. In other words, it takes significantly more fuel to move a truck at 70 miles per hour than it does at 55 miles per hour. Of course, there are many situations where speeding is necessary, such as when traveling long distances or meeting tight deadlines. However, when possible, it’s best to stick to the speed limit. Not only will this help to improve your gas mileage, but it will also help to keep you safe on the road.

3. Check Your Tire Pressure

One of the easiest ways to improve your gas mileage is to simply keep your tires inflated to the proper pressure. When tires are low on air, they create more resistance on the road, which causes your engine to work harder and use more fuel. In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, properly inflated tires can improve your gas mileage by up to 3%. This might not seem like much, but over the course of a year, it can add up to a significant amount of money. So if you want to save some money at the pump, be sure to check your tire pressure on a regular basis.

4. Go easy on the Acceleration

One of the best ways to improve a semi truck’s gas mileage is to accelerate gently. When a truck is first started, it takes a lot of fuel to get it moving. By accelerating slowly, the truck will use less fuel overall. Additionally, it’s important to maintain a consistent speed when possible. Sudden changes in speed can decrease gas mileage by up to 10 percent. For long-haul truckers, this can add up to a significant amount of money saved over time.

5. Reduce Idling

If you’re looking to boost your truck’s gas mileage, one of the best things you can do is avoid idling. Whether you’re stopped at a red light or taking a break during a long haul, letting your engine idle wastes fuel and money. In fact, even if you’re just sitting in traffic, your truck is still eating up gas. The next time you find yourself stuck in traffic, try turning off your engine. Not only will it save you gas, but it will also help to reduce pollution. If you’re worried about restarting your truck, don’t be – modern engines are designed to handle frequent starts and stops.

6. Turn Off The Aircon

A recent study by the US Department of Energy found that turning off the air conditioning when driving can improve a semi trucks gas mileage by as much as 10 percent. Of course, this is not always possible or comfortable, but if the weather permits, it makes a big difference

How Many Miles Can A Semi Truck Go On One Tank Of Gas?

A semi-truck can travel between 500 and 1,500 miles on a single tank of gas, depending on the size of the tank and the efficiency of the engine. The average truck has a fuel tank capacity of 100 gallons, which means that it can travel up to 10,000 miles between fill-ups.

However, most truck drivers try to limit their driving to 8-10 hours per day, which translates to about 500-700 miles. This allows them to stay well within the legal limit for hours of service and also gives them time to rest and eat. As a result, most semi-trucks can travel between 4,000 and 5,000 miles per week.

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How Much Gas Does a Semi Truck Use Per Mile?

On average, a semi-truck uses between 1.5 and 2 gallons of fuel per mile. That means that a typical cross-country trip can require upwards of 8,000 gallons of fuel!

Of course, the actual amount of fuel consumed depends on a number of factors, including the size and weight of the load, the terrain, and the weather conditions. But even under the best conditions, a semi-truck is still going to use a lot of gas.

How Many Miles Can A Semi Truck Go On Empty?

On most semi-trucks, when the dash says that you’re on empty, you should still have another 15-20 or so gallons left. Seeing as the average Semi-truck gets 6.5 gallons per mile, you could be able to drive for a further 130 miles when the fuel light comes on.

That said, it’s always better to play it safe, especially if you’re a new driver or in a truck that you aren’t familiar with. Some makes and models have fuel gauges that far are more accurate than others. Cascadia Freightliners, for example, will tell you when the fuel level in the tank is at 1/8 full or even 3/16 full. However, this isn’t the norm on all semi-trucks, which is why it pays to know your truck.

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Which Semi Trucks Have The Best MPG?

Below are a few semi-trucks that get the best MPG.

Semi TruckMileage
Freightliner Evolution I10.67 MPG
International ProStar ES9 MPG
Kenworth T680 Advantage9 MPG
Peterbilt 579 Epiq9 MPG
Mack Pinnacle7.6 MPG
Volvo VNL 6705.2 MPG

Freightliner’s Evolution I ranks the highest, with an impressive 10.67 miles per gallon. Most semi-trucks average around 6.5 miles per gallon, so the Evolution I’s gas mileage numbers are nothing short of extraordinary. 

Trailing shortly behind is a toss-up between International’s ProStar ES, Kenworth’s T680 Advantage, and Peterbilt’s 579 Epiq, which all achieve 9 miles per gallon.

Which Semi Trucks Have The Worst MPG?

Just as there are semis that get impressive mileage, there are those that falter in this category.

Semi TruckMileage
Freightliner Columbia5 MPG
Volvo 780 Ishift5 MPG
Kenworth T600B4 MPG

Freightliner’s Columbia and Volvo’s 780 Ishift fall short of the average 6.5 with a rather dismal 5 miles per gallon.

And falling even further behind is Kenworth’s T600B with only 4 miles per gallon.

Final Thoughts

Semi-trucks’ gas mileage is something that all truck drivers are concerned with. While their gas mileage has gotten better in recent years, it still leaves much to be desired.

However, there are a number of ways to improve your semi truck’s gas mileage, including lightening your load, reducing your speed, and keeping on top of maintenance.

What tips do you have for improving semi truck gas mileage? Let us know in the comments below!

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