Interesting fact: most of the fuel burned by a truck goes toward pushing the vehicle through the air and overcoming wind resistance. Interesting, yes. But it’s also something that ends up being an important factor when companies are looking to reduce fuel costs. More aerodynamic, sleeker truck designs mean saving money on fuel.
How Much Money Are We Talking?
You can get roughly 1% improved fuel economy for every 2% reduction in aerodynamic drag. An estimate by the EPA says that, per year, fuel costs can be reduced by $800 with an aerodynamic device equipped, streamlined tractor. And improved fuel efficiency and better aerodynamics has even more significance on longer routes because higher speeds are usually achieved on longer routes.
Wind Reducing Features
If your truck is not already equipped with wind resistance reducing features, all is not lost. Some of the options that deal with aerodynamics can be retrofitted. Here are some of the most well-known features and best practices that can make a difference in wind resistance reduction.
- Front bumper air dams
- Cab gap/extenders seals
- Side and roof fairings
- Trailer tails and side skirts improve fuel economy automatically to the tune of approximately 8%
- Consider modifications that will reduce the air which passes over tires and axles
- On empty curtain-sided trailers, close the curtains
- Make sure that all loose tarpaulins are secured
- Arrange cargo on flatbeds to be as smooth and as low as possible
Increasing Fuel Efficiency on Big Rigs
About a decade ago, more efficient, smaller engines were introduced. Clearly, this made a huge difference when it came to fuel efficiency. Now match those engines with new drivelines and smarter gearing, and an even bigger difference was noticed.
Aerodynamic drag was reduced by double digits with the invention of sleeker styling:
- Sloping the windshield and hood
- Rounding out sharp edges that were guilty of catching wind such as mirrors, bumpers, and other protuberances.
You Have To Go All in
Does it help to add one or two aerodynamic features? Yes, but to realize the full potential of savings in fuel efficiency, if you get one feature you should invest in all features. You can’t do it halfway and expect to gain full benefit. Some dealers are offering aerodynamic packages. One such package could include the following:
- Curved and sloped pedestal door mirrors
- Curved and sloped front windshield
- Three-piece composite front bumper
- Additional options – site extenders, roof fairings, and chassis skirts
Another package might include the following:
- Full chassis fairing with the rear wheel covers and four-inch ground clearance
- 20-inch cab side extenders
Or this package:
- 24-inch side extenders and drive axle wheel fairings
- Low clearance front bumper and air dam
And these are only samplings of the many packages available on today’s newer, sleeker, more aerodynamic trucks.
At Mickey Genuine Parts, we carry trailers, parts, accessories, and more. We have an extensive inventory of new parts and have used parts available to those wishing to save as much money as they can. Our service departments are located throughout the United States and our customer service department is at the ready to assist you. Contact us today to see how Mickey can be of service.