Truck Drivers Money Saving Tips Email Newsletter
October 2010 -- Issue #015
we provide real world tips that help professional truck drivers save
hard-earned money and personal reporting about products and services
for use on the road.
Our site not only provides information we have learned
about saving money on the road, but it is also the place where
professional truck drivers can do the
In other words...
With your help, we're looking to expand our website to
provide money saving information on lots of different topics,
information that provides tangible value to you and
other professional drivers everywhere.
Reviews Requested and Completed
We are seeking these kinds of reviews on our site:
As a service to you, we have completed the reviews
listed below since our last newsletter.
We perform reviews based on our own
personal set of expectations. We fully recognize that what one driver
expects, another may not and vice versa. If you, as a professional
driver, disagree with a review,
please feel free to submit one of your own.
Are you a professional truck driver who eats at
restaurants at truck stops anywhere in the world? Then you are
qualified to write
a truck stop restaurant review.
Are you a professional truck driver who uses truck stop
shower services anywhere in the world? Then you're qualified to write
a truck stop shower review.
Fuel Island Reviews
Are you a professional truck driver who obtains fuel at
truck stops anywhere in the world? Then you're qualified to write
a fuel island review.
Truckers' Savings Blog
Below are the "bloglets" (from newest to oldest) we have
published on our Truckers'
Savings Blog since our last email newsletter. They contain
the titles and snippets of articles we have found online that concern
truck drivers and money, such as:
- news about opportunities for
saving money or getting rebates;
- articles revealing how drivers
saved money or lost money (as examples to learn from); and;
- situations that could cost
(Please note: the list below contains no links to get
information. In order to get the links, either regularly visit our blog
page or subscribe to our RSS news feed.)
- Florida sets hearing for tolls
The Florida Department of Transportation officials will have a hearing
Sept. 30 on proposed tolls for Interstate 4/Lee Roy Selmon Expressway
Interchange. For a five-axle truck, the proposed tolls would be
$1.25-$5 for toll by plate and $1-$4 for SunPass. ...
- Survey asks truckers opinion of tolls
A pair of highway and freight research groups is seeking input from
truckers about the tradeoffs involved with using or avoiding toll
roads. The survey, which is anonymous and takes just a few minutes to
complete... Participants are then asked to agree or disagree with
statements regarding tolling, such as "toll roads are expensive" and
"toll roads generally have less traffic than non-tolled alternatives."
- Caltrans calls hearings for truck-only toll road
The California Department of Transportation has scheduled four public
hearings to discuss a proposed new highway linking Palmdale and
Victorville. This highway is of great interest to truckers, not only
because thousands of agricultural loads are generated in this region,
but also because the roadway may be tolled for trucks only and not
cars. Caltrans calls it the High Desert Corridor, and the locals call
it the "new State Route 138." It is slated to cost $1.1 billion. The
existing SR 138 in the region, at just four lanes, is inadequate for
the amount of existing and projected traffic in the region. Truckers
recognize the need for a new bypass, but do not see eye-to-eye with
Caltrans on it being tolled exclusively in a truck-toll format, said
OOIDA Director of Regulatory Affairs Joe Rajkovacz. "We're not for any
proposal that places the financial burden on tolling truckers only and
everybody else gets to ride for free," Rajkovacz said. ...
- Ports at New York/New Jersey issue emissions-based
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey recently approved its
plan to issue a series of bans on older trucks, including all trucks
with 1993 and older diesel engines as of Jan. 1, 2011. ... Truck
drivers who violate the emissions rule will first be given a warning
before two-day, seven-day and 30-day suspensions of port privileges are
doled out. ...
- Toll rates to be set during online hearing in Florida
... Truck tolls are proposed at $5, $2.25 and $1.25 for the
toll-by-plate electronic system and $5, $2, and $1 for SunPass account
holders for the new roadway. Cash will not be accepted at the
all-electronic toll facility. ...
- 3 Fast Food Trends: Cheap Prices and Promos Aimed at
Getting You to Spend More
Cooking and eating at home is always cheaper than dining out. So,
during a time period when most Americans are trying to live cheaply,
fast food chains have gotten particularly creative and aggressive at
enticing budget-conscious eaters out of their kitchens and up to
cashier. There are three basic strategies, all aimed at getting
customers into restaurants early and often-and likely to spend more
than they'd think at first glance. The chains have been rolling out ...
- Study: Operating handheld device leading culprit
Operating a handheld device is the leading cause of distracted driving
incidents that led to collisions or near-crashes in a study released
Sept. 21 by SmartDrive Systems. By analyzing in-cab activity captured
on video in the 15 seconds prior to those traffic events, SmartDrive
says its safety evaluators were able to observe the most common
distracted driving behaviors. Ranked behind operating a handheld device
were eating/drinking/smoking and talking on a mobile phone. ...
- No idle time: APUs provide drivers comfort without
...However, your drivers-being human-occasionally need to rest. When
they're at the end of their shift and it's time to pull off the road,
do they just hunker down in a lot somewhere, letting the truck idle or
shut it down and suffer through an excessively hot (or cold) night in
their cab? The answer is no longer an either/or. Thanks to the
auxiliary power unit (APU), comfort, convenience and cost effectiveness
are within reach, within budget and within the law. An auxiliary power
unit is designed to provide climate control and creature comforts to a
driver without the need to idle the engine. ...
- How You're Paying Less, But Also Getting Less, at
At first you think, Hey, this only costs a dollar, what a deal! But
what you should be thinking is, Hey, wait a sec, I used to get a lot
more for my money. ... The dollar stores have found creative ways to
keep their prices low. ...
- Roadside Medical Clinic offers free health checks
Roadside Medical Clinic + Lab is providing free health and wellness
checks to drivers at all of its clinics though Sept. 25 in conjunction
with National Truck Driver Appreciation Week. ...
- First bolt-on aerodynamic device
... The Air-Shield retro-fit mounted on the cab roof, guiding air over
the top of the trailer, thus greatly reducing drag at highway speeds.
Ads claimed fuel savings of $200 to $1,600 per year (not bad in an era
when fuel cost well under $1) and a drag reduction as high as 21
percent on cabovers. This reduced shifting and transmission wear and,
in some applications, allowed use of a smaller engine for further fuel
- Atlanta highway will be paid off, but the toll could
The toll on the Georgia 400 in Atlanta is scheduled to sunset in 2011,
but officials could take action to extend it for years to make highway
improvements, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported this week. A
50-cent toll for passenger vehicles would not only stay active, but
could be raised to $1 per trip for cash customers as part of a variable
pricing program. Word has not yet come down about what would happen to
the $2-and-up tolls for commercial vehicles. ... According to the toll
authority, 112,000 motorists and truckers use the GA 400. The authority
collects about $59,000 per day from this traffic. The authority wants
to get more people using electronic Cruise Card transponders and has
been studying variable pricing, or congestion pricing, which would
double the 50-cent toll for cash customers during peak times. Because
truckers are at the mercy of on-time delivery schedules, congestion
pricing is viewed as a tax increase. An upside is that congestion
pricing would likely remove a percentage of cars from the roadway. ...
- Pilot, Flying J merger appears to be home run, but
some are crying foul
The merger of Pilot and Flying J is a home run. ... But not everyone is
a happy trucker. Owner operators are upset about the higher street
prices. And past customers are concerned about the higher fees for such
services as check cashing and showers, the new food service
arrangements, and the lower level of personalized service as the Flying
J locations are "pilotized." ... These operators are concerned that
PFJ, which now controls over 50 percent of the diesel fuel market for
long haul interstate trucking companies, will use its market muscle and
pricing power to increase its already dominant market share. ...
- Freightliner builds hybrid truck for on-site fueling
Freightliner has sold what it claims to be the first ever
diesel-electric hybrid fuel delivery truck with on-site refueling
service provider Diesel Direct. ... The truck uses Eaton's
hybrid-electric drivetrain system. "One of our biggest expenses is just
to fuel our own trucks," said [Dan] Abrams[, founder and president of
Diesel Direct]. "With the new Freightliner truck, we expect to save at
least 25-30[percent] in fuel consumption." ...
- SmartWay equipment rebate program extended
The Great SmartWay Rebate Program operated by the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency has been extended. Rebate requests will be accepted
until May 31, 2011, and all completed installation documents must be
turned into Cascade Sierra Solutions by June 30. ... Program rebates
range from $100 for trailer gap reducing add-ons to $1,000 for
auxiliary power units or battery-powered air conditioning systems,
exhaust retrofits or transport refrigeration unit replacements. Rebates
for equipment such as trailer skirts and end fairings also are
available, said CSS, a Coburg, Ore.-based non-profit organization that
promotes use of and provides funding for emissions-reducing truck
- Tolling survey available
Federal researchers are asking truckers take a survey to better gauge
how truckers evaluate toll facilities. ...
- CVSA Targeting Air Brakes This Week
Brake Safety Week started Sunday and runs through Saturday the 18th.
The program is part of the Operation Air Brake Campaign, an ongoing
effort by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance dedicated to improving
inspection, compliance, maintenance, and performance of commercial
vehicle braking systems throughout North America. This safety event
focuses on enhancing knowledge, regulatory compliance and performance
of commercial vehicle braking systems. Throughout the week,
CVSA-certified inspectors, brake suppliers, and industry partners
conduct enforcement and education activities with drivers and mechanics
at truck stops, weigh stations and other locations. Out of adjustment
air brakes and brake system defects constitute the major reason for
commercial motor vehicles being placed out of service during roadside
inspections. Poorly adjusted or defective air brakes reduce braking
capacity and increase stopping distance. ...
- CARB fined trucks $298,700 last year for idling
The California Air Resources Board cited nearly 1,000 commercial
vehicle drivers for violating the state's five-minute diesel idling
limit in 2009, racking up almost $300,000 in fines. CARB recently
released its enforcement statistics for 2009, including $7 million tied
to its diesel programs, including the idling limit and requirements
that reefers and other equipment be retrofitted or replaced. CARB
collected more than $16 million in penalties in 2009...
- Speeding ticket insurance?
A new service offers "Prepaid Traffic Tickets," investments as a sort
of hedge against the likelihood of getting a speeding or other ticket
in a specific amount of time in the future - all while stressing that
it does not in fact condone or encourage folks to speed. Basically, the
company issues a voucher to an individual for a specified price
($13.33, for instance) reedeemable for a certain amount ($100) to go
toward paying a speeding ticket incurred during a certain time period
after purchase (six months). Different levels of voucher are
- EIA predicts slight drop in fuel, oil prices for
remainder of 2010
Diesel and crude oil prices are both expected to drop for the remainder
of 2010, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration's
latest Short-Term Outlook. ...
- RCMP investigating rock throwing reports in Manitoba
WINNIPEG, Man. -- The RCMP has told local media that it is
investigating reports that large rocks are being hurled at transport
trucks travelling along Hwy. 68 at nighttime, the CBC reports. ...
Manitoba Trucking Association executive director, Bob Dolyniuk, told
CBC.ca that "It's obviously very dangerous. People have been killed by
rocks thrown at trucks." ...
- Truck-related traffic fatalities drop 20[percent],
lowest level in recorded DOT history
The number of truck-involved traffic fatalities declined 20 percent in
2009, dropping from 4,245 in 2008 to 3,380 in 2009, the National
Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced Sept. 9. The reduction
is the lowest level in recorded Department of Transportation history
and also shows a 33 percent decrease in fatalities since the generally
current hours-of-service regulations first became effective in January
- Traffic fatalities hit record lows in '09
... NHTSA said highway deaths due to crashes fell to 33,808 in 2009; a
9.7[percent] decline from 37,423 deaths reported in 2008. That's the
lowest number since 1950 (when 33,186 people perished in highway
collisions) resulting in a fatality rate of 1.13 deaths per 100 million
vehicle miles traveled (VMT) for 2009. That compares markedly to a rate
of 1.26 deaths per 100 million VMT for 2008. Truck-involved traffic
fatalities declined even more steeply in 2009, according to NHTSA --
dropping 20[percent] to 3,380 from 4,245 in 2008. Additionally, the
number of truck occupant deaths decreased 26[percent] in 2009 to 503,
with truck occupant injuries falling 26[percent] as well, the agency
- European Study Shows Truckers Not at Fault in Most
A European study of truck accidents causes confirmed similar U.S.
studies that show passenger vehicle drivers are at fault 75 percent of
the time in truck-related crashes. ... The study found that human error
was the cause of 85.2 percent of the more than 600 studied cases. When
human error was to blame, the passenger vehicle driver was at fault 75
percent of the time, with the truck driver to blame 25 percent of the
time. The main causes for accidents included speeding, failure to
observe intersection rules and improperly made lane changes. Fatigue
was a main cause in only 6 percent of the 624 accidents studied, but
when it was, 37 percent of those accidents were fatal. When fatigue was
a main cause, nearly 90 percent of the time the accidents occurred on
highways or interurban roads. Factors involving a truck's load...
- More fuel-efficient trucks forecast
Equipment 10 years from now will be much more fuel efficient, thanks to
technologies coming into acceptance and others yet to be introduced,
executives said Aug. 26. The forecasts were made at the "SuperSession:
Tomorrow's trucks and trailers," sponsored by Shell Lubricants at the
Great American Trucking Show in Dallas. Cummins will focus on fuel
efficiency and CO2 reduction, said Jeff Jones, vice president of sales
and marketing. New regulations in this area are expected "in the very
near future" from the U.S. Department of Transportation and the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency, he said, which have agreed to work
jointly on the project. ...
- Frito-Lay On its Way to Largest Fleet of All-Electric
Trucks in North America
PepsiCo's Frito-Lay North America division is setting the wheels in
motion this week for what will ultimately be the largest fleet of
commercial all-electric trucks in North America. New York City will
become the first U.S. city to see Frito-Lay snacks delivered by fully
electric delivery trucks, with five new trucks beginning routes this
month. In total, Frito-Lay will be deploying 21 electric trucks this
year. The company projects it will roll out 155 additional trucks in
2011, making Frito-Lay the largest commercial fleet of all-electric
trucks in North America. The trucks, designed by Smith Electric
Vehicles, generate zero tailpipe emissions and operate for up to 100
miles on a single charge. Electric trucks reduce fuel consumption,
noise pollution and CO2 emissions, compared to traditional delivery
trucks. ... "There are real economic and environmental benefits to
electric trucks," said Mike O'Connell, director of fleet capability for
Frito Lay North America. "Once the planned 176 electric trucks are
deployed we will eliminate the need for 500,000 gallons of fuel
annually. ..." ...
- Hybrid vs. diesel: Research firm to compare truck
POINTE-CLAIRE, Que. -- FPInnovations will conduct two $50,000 studies
on eco-energy optimization for the Quebec Transport Ministry (MTQ). The
studies will analyze and compare the shipment of freight in urban
centres by hybrid trucks and conventional diesel trucks. ...
- Survey asks truckers' opinion of tolls
A pair of highway and freight research groups is seeking input from
truckers about the tradeoffs involved with using or avoiding toll
roads. The survey, which is anonymous and takes just a few minutes to
complete, is being conducted by two groups for a Transportation
Research Board study. ...
- Days numbered for 'California stops'?
Making a right turn at a red light can be a risky maneuver. In
California, the stakes are even higher with the possibility of pricey
tickets awaiting drivers who make the turns. A bill sent to Gov. Arnold
Schwarzenegger would take less of a bite out of offenders' pocketbooks.
The fine for rolling through a red light while turning right would be
reduced to $35 - about one-third of the existing $100 fine. But that's
not all. The bill's passage would lower the total ticket amount, which
includes additional fines and penalties, from about $450 to about $220.
- 5 Questions That Will Save You Money
Being your own financial advocate is vital when it comes to protecting
your hard-earned money and making the most of what you have. Here are
some savings tricks I've learned along the way, all the result of
speaking up and asking the right questions. ...
- Oregon Credits Inspection Blitzes for Drop in Truck
Oregon's Department of Transportation says its commercial vehicle
enforcement and education efforts appear to be paying off with a drop
in truck crashes. For the last several years, ODOT's Motor Carrier
Division has aggressively targeted unsafe commercial drivers and
vehicles with enhanced enforcement and education initiatives. One of
the biggest efforts has been special safety inspection operations along
the state's busiest highways. During these operations, MCTD employees
work together around the clock for three to five days, inspecting
hundreds of trucks a day. ... DOT officials say 2009 data shows crashes
involving commercial vehicles are down 28 percent over 2008.
Truck-at-fault crashes are down 26 percent. Truck crashes resulted in
32 percent fewer injuries and 15 percent fewer deaths in 2009. ...
During the inspection operation, 27 percent of drivers were placed out
of service. That rate is consistent with inspection events at other
locations in Oregon over the last few years. The national driver out of
service rate is about 6 percent. Commercial vehicle safety inspections
are not random. Using several sorting tools, including weigh station
records, safety records, and information in national databases,
employees scrutinize the vehicle and driver. Driver behavior is
carefully observed as the vehicle proceeds through the weigh station.
Drivers who look inattentive or fatigued are routinely selected for an
inspection. During the inspection, the driver is interviewed and
supporting documentation is reviewed to verify the driver's logbook.
- Engine problems reported in 2010 trucks: JD Power
More than half of owners of one-year old truck engines report
experiencing some type of problem. According to the J.D. Power and
Associates' 2010 U.S. Heavy-Duty Truck Engine and Transmission study,
the most common engine problems reported are related to electronic
control module calibration (14 [percent]), and the exhaust gas
recirculation valve, (13 percent). ... "Clearly, the emissions
requirements have put a burden on engine manufacturers, and the result
is that today's engines-although environmentally improved are more
problematic," said Todd Markusic, senior director of the commercial
vehicle practice at J.D. Power and Associates. ...
- 4 Lake Michigan states upgrade travel website
Drivers in the states along the shores of Lake Michigan now have an
updated website to ease their travels. ... The website, www.travel
midwest.com, encompasses approximately 1,570 roadway miles across 51
counties in the four-state alliance coverage area. The traffic map
features pan and zoom features and user customization. There are
- Owners of Post-Emissions Standard Engines Report
A little over half of owners of one-year-old heavy-duty truck engines
have experienced some type of problem in 2010, according to the J.D.
Power and Associates 2010 U.S. Heavy-Duty Truck Engine and Transmission
Study released last week. In contrast, prior to the changes in
emissions standards implemented in 2004 and 2007, only 26 percent of
owners of two-year-old truck engines experienced problems. "Clearly,
the emissions requirements have put a burden on engine manufacturers,
and the result is that today's engines-although environmentally
improved-are more problematic," said Todd Markusic, senior director of
the commercial vehicle practice at J.D. Power and Associates. ... The
study also finds that the number of engine problems increases by 55
percent, on average, after 50,000 miles of usage, up to 80.5 problems
per 100 vehicles from 51.9 per 100 vehicles. As a result, satisfaction
with engines decreases by nearly 40 points on a 1,000-point scale after
50,000 miles. ...
- Brake Safety Week Starts Sept. 12
The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance is gearing up for its annual
Brake Safety Week Sept. 12-18. The event is part of the organization's
Operation Air Brake Campaign, which aims to improve inspection,
compliance, maintenance and performance of commercial vehicle brakes
throughout North America. ... According to CVSA, out of adjustment air
brakes and brake system defects constitute the major defect areas
resulting in commercial vehicles being placed out of service. Poorly
adjusted or defective air brakes reduce the braking capacity for large
vehicles and further inhibit their stopping distance. Under ideal
conditions, the braking capacity of commercial vehicles is twice as far
as that for cars and other smaller vehicles. This increases the risk to
other users of the road and the driver of the vehicle itself.
- OOIDA to accept applications for APU grants for
Members of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association who
reside in specific states may apply for an auxiliary power unit (APU)
grant starting Tuesday. ... OOIDA will be able to offer members a 40
percent reimbursement for the cost of the APU unit and the installation
of the unit. This particular grant will be only for OOIDA members who
reside in Regions 6 and 7. OOIDA is among five organizations included
in a total grant of more than $5.1 million in Diesel Emissions
Reduction Act funds (DERA). ... EPA estimates every dollar invested in
reducing diesel exhaust will yield up to $13 in public health benefits.
Through the use of this funding, the agency claims potential for
approximately $4 billion of health benefits nationwide. ...
- Used and Enthused: Pre-owned trucks fueling rebound
TORONTO -- Not wanting to sit on their hands as freight conditions
improve -- but still apprehensive about making major capital
investments -- truck buyers, including big fleets, are increasingly
turning to used trucks to grow their business. ... Demand for used
commercial vehicles has soared this summer -- as much as 60 percent
over last year. And only a couple of years removed from a major glut of
pre-owned inventory, suppliers are now predicting a shortage in the
next 24 months. ... Brian Sarnia, sales manager with Freightliner
Manitoba concurs. "Low-mileage, late model used trucks are the ones
people are after." With older, somewhat neglected equipment, "there's
the extra cost of certifying them and bringing them up-to-date, so it's
not always worth it."
- Wrench-It DIY garage celebrates anniversary
... There was the trucker from northern California who drove 800 miles
along I-80 to install a new transmission in his truck because it was
cheaper than finding a garage he could work in back home. ... A year
into the Salt Lake Valley's most innovative - and hands-on - automotive
repair business and they've already got their favorite customer
stories. You get all kinds out there in the bays. We're talking about
the Wrench-It Center in west Salt Lake (www.wrench-it.com), a
repair/service shop where you do the repairs and service yourself.
Every other shop in town has signs telling you not to cross the yellow
line into the working part of the garage. This place you HAVE to cross
the yellow line. If you want to get anything done. The shop is the
brainchild of Zak Anderegg, a former Marine who learned how to service
his car when he was in the service and thinks - and hopes - a lot of
people would like to work on their cars if they just knew somebody who
could rent them a bay. For $12 to $18 an hour, you can rent a bay at
Wrench-It, the cost varying depending on what kind of lift you require.
A 200-piece toolbox is included for no additional charge. If you want a
bay for the whole day, the rate is $119. Additional equipment is
available for rent, and you can get a genuine auto mechanic for $25 an
hour. The Wrench-It Center is not for everyone.... The idea is that you
can save money doing it yourself, although it could take awhile longer.
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New Money Saving Resources on our Website
These are the articles we have published (besides the
reviews above) since our last email newsletter.
Requesting Driver Feedback
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Reader Submitted Content
We provide on our site numerous opportunities
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Here is the list of what we were sent since our
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website is designed to help truck drivers save money.
We Answer Readers' Questions
One form on our site is specifically designated as the
place where drivers can ask questions: Ask
We did not receive any questions since our last email
Mike says that there are no questions about truck
drivers saving money on the road that are too big, too small, or too
seemingly unimportant to ask on our site. If you have a question and
would like our feedback, please ask.
note that depending on what you ask, a response may be needed from
someone else who has more experience on your topic than we do. We can
post it on our site and open it up for discussion, inviting others to
is here for you and we honestly want to help.
Do All Our Readers Always Agree With Us?
Has all of the feedback we've received to date been
On many of our pages, you'll see something like what is
written in this box:
Each link points to the form on the Tier 2 page under
which that Tier 3 page is grouped. For example, if you have a different
opinion about one of our fuel island, restaurant or shower reviews, you
can submit one of your own through the forms linked from our truck
Truck Drivers Money Saving Tweets?
We're still sending through our Twitter account
tweets about how truckers can save money. If you missed any this past
month, you can catch
Drop by our site any time to:
While you're there...
You may be aware that National Truck Driver
Week was held September 19-25. If you are a professional truck driver,
thank you for all your hard work all year long!
Being out here in the industry with you, we understand what you're
We wish you safe travels and lots of money
opportunities on the road.
Mike and Vicki Simons
© 2010. All Rights Reserved. NKBJ InfoNet, LLC
All information on this site and in this email newsletter
is intended for informational and educational purposes.
It neither substitutes for professional advice nor
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