Another Way to Save On Fuel Costs For Truckers

By: Emily Klaus | Marketing Associate

Between truck maintenance and repair, high driver turnover, and business costs in general, the last thing a trucking company owner wants to worry about is the cost of the gas that fuels his business.

With the average price of diesel fuel at about $2.32 per gallon1, gas is one of the most expensive operating costs for a trucking and transportation company. However, not all of that fuel is burned while the truck is moving. In fact, it is estimated that over 1.2 billion gallons of fuel is burned each year in the U.S. just when the truck is idling2, which can cost upwards of $5,000 per truck annually. That’s a lot of money that could be saved by using what’s called an auxiliary power unit or APU.

What is an APU?

An APU is an add-on to a big rig. They are one of the biggest weapons a truck driver can utilize to avoid wasting precious fuel. These add-ons make it possible give power to things like the truck’s heating and air conditioning without having to keep the engine idling.

Types of APUs

There are two main types of APUs: battery-powered and diesel-powered.

Battery-powered, or all-electric APUs are great for trucks with smaller cab spaces. If your truck has a small sleeper or just a day cab, a battery-powered APU might be a better fit because smaller spaces like these do not require much power to heat or cool. Typically, battery-powered APUs can last 10-12 hours for AC and longer for heat. However, keep in mind that those estimates are based on moderate temperatures. In extreme heat or freezing temperatures, an all-electric APU will use power much more aggressively. Once the power runs out on this type of APU, it must be recharged by either plugging it in or by running your engine, similar to a car battery. In the positive side, all-electric APUs typically do not require much maintenance and are generally quieter than a diesel unit.

The other option is a diesel-powered unit, also known as a combustion-powered unit, and is the most common. These units are great because they do not need to be recharged or plugged in and offer a virtually unlimited power supply, which makes this model conducive for long-haul truckers who may require rest time of 20 or more hours. However, this type of APU typically requires more maintenance. Between changing the oil and fuel filters and general upkeep, diesel APUs require more babysitting than their battery-powered counterparts. If you are considering a diesel-powered unit, you must also factor in any costs associated with more diesel emissions. Some states require certain filters to ensure less air contamination, so be sure to look into that when determining which type of APU is the best fit for you and your business.

How much does an APU cost?

Costs for each type of APU varies greatly, from $900 on the low end for a battery-powered unit to upwards of $10,000 for a good-quality diesel unit. Of course, this doesn’t factor in any labor associated with installing either unit onto a rig, nor does it account for any maintenance and upkeep costs, especially associated with the diesel units.

The initial cost of purchasing an APU for your rig may seem steep. However, many states have passed anti-idling legislation, which can carry fines that greatly exceed what you would pay for an APU. Be sure to check what the laws and fines are in the states you operate, and take a look at the tips and tricks on Track Your Truck for knowing exemptions.

If you need funding to purchase an APU for your rig, apply for a merchant cash advance from Jet Capital today. With a quick application and fast funding process, you could have the cash you need to keep your business fueled and ready to go. Apply online today or give us a call at 866-845-9674!


  1. Price as of March 22, 2017

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