Fuel is one of the biggest expenses the trucking industry has to deal with. So it stands to reason that if a trucking company is going to make a profit, it needs to know how to calculate fuel cost consumption for its trucks.
Unless you’re clear about your lorry’s fuel efficiency, it’s virtually impossible to create a realistic fuel budget. To do that, you need to know the cost to drive per mile for each truck in your fleet.
Calculating cost per mile to drive
When it comes to calculating fuel cost consumption, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Every truck is different, and each one will use a different amount of fuel to get from A to B. It all comes down to maths, so you need to work out costs with a fuel calculator.
Here are the steps you need to take to calculate fuel consumption for a truck. (FYI: To calculate fuel cost consumption quickly, you can always use our fuel calculator.)
Step 1: Fill up the truck with fuel. Make a note of how many litres went in and the reading on the speedometer.
For example, the tank holds 250 litres and there’s 72,000 miles on the clock.
Step 2: Next time you visit the petrol station, make a note of how many litres it takes to completely fill the tank and the new speedometer reading.
For example, 240 litres of fuel and there’s now 73,115 miles on the clock.
Step 3: Now for the maths. Take away the first speedometer reading from the second to see how far a tank of fuel gets you.
So in this case, that 73,115 – 72,000 = 1,115.
Step 4: Then, divide the number of miles driven by how many litres went into the tank.
Eg: 1,115 ÷ 240 = 6.6. That means your truck’s fuel efficiency is 6.6 miles per litre.
Step 5: To calculate your fuel spend per mile, you’ll need to divide the current fuel price by the truck’s miles per litre.
Eg: 117 ÷ 6.6 = 17.72. Rounded up, that’s 18 pence per mile spent on fuel.
Knowing how many miles per litre you’re getting, you can more accurately calculate the profitability of specific loads and journeys.
But don’t get too caught up in budgeting and profitability this way; there’s more to increasing fuel efficiency than using a fuel consumption calculator. For example, if you want to get more out of your fuel, you might think that lighter loads are the answer. However, the savings you make in fuel costs probably won’t balance out the profit you’d get from a heavier load.
It’s all down to the maths, again.