Semi Trucks Gas Mileage (Complete Guide) - MotorAsk (2022)

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.

Semi Trucks Gas Mileage (Complete Guide) - MotorAsk (1)

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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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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FAQs

How do you get the best gas mileage on a semi truck? ›

Four Ways to Boost Semi-Truck Fuel Economy
  1. Reduce Idling. Idling can put stress on a truck's engine. ...
  2. Minimize Air-Conditioning Use. An easy way to use less fuel is to limit using the A/C. ...
  3. Lower Average Highway Speed. ...
  4. Use the TCS Fuel Card.
21 Apr 2016

What is the average mpg for a semi truck? ›

Drivers need to have large amounts of fuel because the average miles per gallon (mpg) for semi-trucks is only 5.6 mpg. On a long route, fuel is consumed quickly. A semi-truck's fuel efficiency can worsen when you include other factors, like inclement weather, steep roads and traffic jams.

How many miles can a semi go on a full tank? ›

6. How many miles can a semi truck go on one tank of gas? Semi trucks can go about 2,100 miles on a tank of diesel fuel (not usually gasoline), assuming tanks totaling 300 gallons and an average fuel efficiency of 7 miles per gallon.

Which semi truck engine gets the best fuel mileage? ›

1. Freightliner Cascadia Evolution. Freightliner Cascadia Evolution has improved on previous models with better fuel efficiency, now getting over 10 miles per gallon. In new models you'll find the Detroit DD15 engine with up to 615 horsepower in specific makes, along with options for a day cab, raised roof, or mid-roof ...

How many miles per gallon does the average 18 wheeler get? ›

Since semi-trucks are so heavy, they aren't the most fuel-efficient vehicles on the market. On average, semi-trucks get only 6.5 miles per gallon. Their efficiency ranges wildly between 3 mpg going up hills to more than 23 mpg going downhill.

How much fuel does a semi burn idling? ›

According to the Department of Energy, heavy-duty trucks consume about 0.8 gallons of fuel per hour when idling. Truck drivers often need to leave their trucks idling during their rest periods, which can be up to 10-hours, which would waste nearly 8 gallons of fuel while they sleep.

How many MPG does an empty semi get? ›

Here's a quick answer to How Many Miles Can a Semi Truck go on Empty: A semi truck can go 150 to 180 miles on average with a 6 to 8 mpg fuel consumption and a 30-gallon reserve fuel tank i.e. when the fuel low warning light comes on.

How many gallons does it take to fill a 18 wheeler? ›

When you factor in the radius of operation, a semi truck tank generally holds 120 to 150 gallons of fuel per tank, meaning that two tanks will total up to 300 gallons. Truck owners often ask this question because there are plenty of factors to consider when loading your semi with fuel.

How many MPG does a Freightliner get? ›

The Freightliner Cascadia Evolution I gets over 10 mpg

While towing 76,000 lbs, the Freightliner Cascadia Evolution I manages to get 10 mpg. That's considered economical, since the average semi-truck gets just around 6 mph. For most regular drivers, going to a racetrack may be the only real way to achieve such a feat.

Why do truckers leave engine running? ›

Truckers, both independent owner-operators and fleet drivers, leave their engines idling for three main reasons: weather conditions, economic pressures, and old habits. In cold weather, a truck's engine and fuel tank need to stay warm.

How fast can a semi truck go without trailer? ›

Semi-trucks can reach speeds in excess of 100 miles per hour without a trailer. Some drivers have reported reaching speeds of 125 miles per hour.

How many miles can an 18 wheeler last? ›

A typical semi truck can last up to around 750,000 miles or more. There have even been trucks to hit the one million mile mark! On average, a semi truck drives about 45,000 miles per year. This means that you can probably expect to get about 15 years of use out of your truck.

What is the most reliable semi truck brand? ›

The most reliable semi-trucks that have been tried and tested are models from Freightliner, Peterbilt

Peterbilt
PACCAR. Website. www.peterbilt.com. Peterbilt Motors Company is an American truck manufacturer. Established in 1939 from the acquisition of Fageol Truck and Motor Company, Peterbilt specializes in the production of heavy-duty (Class 8) and medium-duty (Classes 5–7) commercial vehicles.
https://en.wikipedia.org › wiki › Peterbilt
, Kenworth, Mack, and Volvo. They are dependable, have good torque and the ability to haul large loads easily and safely, are easy to maintain, and are popular enough to be worked on effectively.

What is the best diesel engine? ›

What Are the 5 Best Diesel Truck Engines?
  1. Chrysler 3.0L EcoDiesel I-6. Diesel goes light-duty, but this small-but-mighty EcoDiesel is the industry's lone light-duty diesel engine: ...
  2. High Output 6.7L Cummins V8. ...
  3. Duramax 6.6L LBZ V8. ...
  4. Navistar/Ford 7.3L Power Stroke. ...
  5. Ford 6.7L Power Stroke V8.

Which is better Cummins or Caterpillar? ›

In terms of fuel efficiency, Cummins' engines are 6% better than Caterpillar

Caterpillar
Caterpillar machinery and other company-branded products are recognizable by their trademark "Caterpillar Yellow" livery and the "CAT" logo.
https://en.wikipedia.org › wiki › Caterpillar_Inc
. That's not the only area where CMI's coming out on top. It's taking share from CAT in other heavy-duty engines as well. Cummins is taking share from all its competitors, actually, as it's now the largest supplier to Paccar .

How many miles per gallon does a diesel 18 wheeler get? ›

The average 18-wheeler gets 5.5 miles on a gallon of diesel fuel. 1 gallon of diesel fuel generates 138,874 British Thermal Units (BTU) of energy. An electric semi-truck will get about 2 kWh per mile, numbers changing depending on the electric truck manufacturer.

How do I calculate fuel cost for a semi-truck? ›

Subtract the earlier odometer reading from the current reading to determine how many miles you drove on the last tank of diesel: 69,083 – 68,000 = 1,083. Divide the number of miles you drove by the number of gallons you just put into your tank: 1,083 divided by 190 equals 5.7.

Does following a semi save gas? ›

A truck also blocks some of the air rushing at you. On the popular Discovery Channel show Mythbusters it was shown that if you follow a big rig by 100 feet you can decrease your fuel consumption by 11%.

Can I leave my semi-truck running all night? ›

Idling a truck can be dangerous. Idling can shave life off the engine itself. Engines only run a fixed number of hours before they experience fatigue and start to breakdown. The hours spent idling an engine are more wisely used toward hauling loads for money, than running needlessly all night at a truck stop.

How long can you let a truck idle? ›

Experts maintain that your car should never idle for more than thirty seconds to one minute. However, the reasons behind that advice pertain to conserving fuel and limiting the amount of exhaust. A car's engine can idle indefinitely outdoors without any safety concerns.

How long can a diesel idle? ›

Fact: This is one of the most common myths about diesel engines. Most engine manufacturers recommend that newer diesel engines idle for no more than 3 minutes before driving. Gelling of diesel fuel used to be a problem.

How big is a semi gas tank? ›

Semi-truck fuel tanks do come in varying sizes, but they hold an average of 125 to 300 gallons of fuel. A fuel tank sits on each side of the tractor and fuel is distributed between the two tanks to balance the truck's total weight.

How many gallons left when fuel light comes on Peterbilt? ›

Short answer: Between one and two gallons. Long answer: Run the car until the light comes on. Fuel up immediately. Look up the fuel tank capacity in the owner's manual.

What does 300 gallons of diesel weigh? ›

Semi-truck fuel tanks typically hold between 125 and 300 gallons of fuel – meaning that a full tank of diesel fuel weighs anywhere from 875 to 2,100 pounds.

How much does a steer tire cost for a semi? ›

BALANCING BEADS - 20$
STEER TIRESSIZEPRICE
Michelin X Line Energy Z 16PLY275/80R22.5$665.00
Continental HS3 18 PLY295/60R22.5$645.00
Firestone FS591 16PLY295/75R22.5$480.00
Sailun S605 11R 16PLY11R22.5$345.00
12 more rows

How much do truck drivers make? ›

Salary: $45,000 to $60,000

The average for drivers with their careers in full swing is around $45,000 to $60,000 annually. Depending on the company and with a safe driving record spanning several years, a driver can potentially earn upward of $70,000 or more.

How many miles per gallon does a 2022 Freightliner Cascadia get? ›

PROVEN PERFORMANCE

The Cascadia Evolution reached the 10 MPG mark with a load of 76,000 pounds on a test track. Then, it went on to hit 9.31 MPG in real-world conditions on a cross country tour with a full load.

How many miles per gallon does a Kenworth T680 get? ›

And on average, the Kenworth T680 can get 8 miles per gallon, which makes the Kenworth T680 mpg pretty convenient compared to ordinary trucks, which average at under 5 miles per gallon.

How many miles per gallon does a 2021 Freightliner Cascadia get? ›

This year's model of the Cascadia Evolution achieved 10 MPG traveling on a test track with 76,000 lbs. of cargo. A second test that took the truck across the country with a full load of cargo achieved an impressive 9.31 MPG. The new Cascadia boasts fuel efficiency that's seven percent better than the original model.

How long should you let a semi truck warm up? ›

As a general rule of thumb, if it is below zero degrees Fahrenheit, you should allow your engine up to seven minutes to warm up. If the temperature is between zero and fifty degrees, the warm-up period should be three to five minutes.

How do Truckers keep warm at night? ›

How Can Truck Drivers Stay Warm at Night? Truck drivers should prepare for driving at night in the wintertime. If you want to stay warm throughout the night, you need to bundle up! Invest in thick gloves, thermal socks, blankets, and anything else that will help you keep the cold at bay.

Why do Peterbilt drivers sit so low? ›

Why My Peterbilt Truck Seat is Low - YouTube

What is the fastest stock semi-truck? ›

List of Fastest Semi Trucks
SemiTop Speed
Shockwave376 mph [ 605.4 kmph]
Super Shockwave333 mph [ 536.1 kmph]
The Original Jet Truck234.6 mph [ 377.7 kmph]
Volvo Iron Knight171 mph [ 275.3 kmph]
3 more rows
4 Sept 2022

What state has the highest speed limit for semi-trucks? ›

Ranging from a speed limit of 55 miles per hour (mph) to 85 mph, the maximum speed limit for trucks varies from state-to-state. Currently, California has the most conservative maximum speed limit for trucks–55 mph.
...
Supporting Information.
StateSpeed Limit (miles per hour)
Alaska65
Arizona75
Arkansas70
California55
48 more rows
13 Jun 2016

How often do 18 wheelers break down? ›

Study: Roadside truck breakdowns occur every 10,000 miles | FleetOwner.

Which truck is the longest lasting? ›

The Honda Ridgeline comes in at first place in the category of trucks most likely to last 200,000 miles. About 3 percent of older versions of the Honda Ridgeline have reached the 200,000 mile mark.

How much do Owner operators make? ›

Owner-operators tend to make around $100 – $150k (USD) per year gross, normally placed right around the $141,000 mark.

Does following a semi save gas? ›

A truck also blocks some of the air rushing at you. On the popular Discovery Channel show Mythbusters it was shown that if you follow a big rig by 100 feet you can decrease your fuel consumption by 11%.

How many MPG does an empty semi get? ›

Here's a quick answer to How Many Miles Can a Semi Truck go on Empty: A semi truck can go 150 to 180 miles on average with a 6 to 8 mpg fuel consumption and a 30-gallon reserve fuel tank i.e. when the fuel low warning light comes on.

How many gallons does it take to fill a 18 wheeler? ›

When you factor in the radius of operation, a semi truck tank generally holds 120 to 150 gallons of fuel per tank, meaning that two tanks will total up to 300 gallons. Truck owners often ask this question because there are plenty of factors to consider when loading your semi with fuel.

How many miles per gallon does a Freightliner get? ›

The Freightliner Cascadia Evolution sets the industry benchmark for long-haul applications that demand the highest level of fuel efficiency. The Cascadia Evolution reached the 10 MPG mark with a load of 76,000 pounds on a test track.

How close do you have to be to a semi to draft? ›

Per the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), if you are driving a semi-truck, this distance is at least one second for every ten feet of vehicle length if you are traveling below 40 miles per hour. “For a typical tractor-trailer, this results in four seconds between you and the leading vehicle.

Does driving behind a semi increase gas mileage? ›

Follow That Truck! Xin Lu of Wise Bread points out some uncommon wisdom: Driving behind large trucks, and taking advantage of something called "drafting," can save you up to 10 percent on gas. The science behind drafting, she explains, is closely related to why driving slower saves you energy.

How many miles is too many for a used semi truck? ›

A typical semi truck can last up to around 750,000 miles or more. There have even been trucks to hit the one million mile mark! On average, a semi truck drives about 45,000 miles per year. This means that you can probably expect to get about 15 years of use out of your truck.

How long can a truck last on empty? ›

But if you're in a traditional gas-powered vehicle, most models can go 30 to 50 miles before completely running out of fuel. For example, the Chevy Silverado can travel about 33 miles after the gas light comes on. Smaller cars, like the Volkswagen Jetta, can go 43 miles.

How much does it cost to fill up a semi-truck? ›

“You go from spending $350-$400 to fill up a semi-truck and now it costs over $1000 to fill up that same semi-truck,” said Josh Barron, a certified instructor for the Midwest Truck Driving School.

How big is a semi gas tank? ›

Semi-truck fuel tanks do come in varying sizes, but they hold an average of 125 to 300 gallons of fuel. A fuel tank sits on each side of the tractor and fuel is distributed between the two tanks to balance the truck's total weight.

What does 300 gallons of diesel weigh? ›

Semi-truck fuel tanks typically hold between 125 and 300 gallons of fuel – meaning that a full tank of diesel fuel weighs anywhere from 875 to 2,100 pounds.

How many miles does a gallon of diesel last? ›

On average, semi-trucks get about 6.5 miles out of every fuel gallon. That performance varies greatly, however, depending on where you drive, how you drive and the age of the truck.

How much does a steer tire cost for a semi? ›

BALANCING BEADS - 20$
STEER TIRESSIZEPRICE
Michelin X Line Energy Z 16PLY275/80R22.5$665.00
Continental HS3 18 PLY295/60R22.5$645.00
Firestone FS591 16PLY295/75R22.5$480.00
Sailun S605 11R 16PLY11R22.5$345.00
12 more rows

How many miles per gallon does a 2022 Freightliner Cascadia get? ›

PROVEN PERFORMANCE

The Cascadia Evolution reached the 10 MPG mark with a load of 76,000 pounds on a test track. Then, it went on to hit 9.31 MPG in real-world conditions on a cross country tour with a full load.

How many miles per gallon does a 2021 Freightliner Cascadia get? ›

This year's model of the Cascadia Evolution achieved 10 MPG traveling on a test track with 76,000 lbs. of cargo. A second test that took the truck across the country with a full load of cargo achieved an impressive 9.31 MPG. The new Cascadia boasts fuel efficiency that's seven percent better than the original model.

How many miles per gallon does a Kenworth T680 get? ›

And on average, the Kenworth T680 can get 8 miles per gallon, which makes the Kenworth T680 mpg pretty convenient compared to ordinary trucks, which average at under 5 miles per gallon.

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