There’s no doubt that aerodynamics affect your fuel consumption. You can see the difference in fuel savings simply by slowing down, which reduces aerodynamic drag on your commercial or owner operator truck. Therefore, it only makes sense that streamlining your rig to reduce air drag should save on fuel costs.
While there are many ways of reducing drag such as changing the shape of your side mirrors, the main areas of drag on your rig are at the tractor, which must punch into the air ahead of it, and the trailer’s drag effects.
The top front side of the trailer, where air coming over the tractor is pushed over the trailer’s roof, is one major drag source. Another, is drag created by air flowing under the trailer from its sides. The third source of trailer drag is the partial vacuum created by the air turbulence at the trailer’s rear.
There are a number of aerodynamic trailer fairings that address each of these sources of drag. You can get tractor roof fairings that deflect air over the trailer, trailer side skirts that minimize side air turbulence, and trailer tails that reduce turbulence behind the trailer.
Are aerodynamic Fairings worth the investment? Here are three practical considerations when determining this for your own rig or fleet:
Implement Fuel Efficient Practices First
It makes sense to eliminate wasteful practices before committing money to new technology. Practices that waste fuel include aggressive driving habits such as hard acceleration and hard braking, driving on under-inflated tires, excessive idling, poor route planning, and poor engine maintenance. Eliminating these practices also increase safety.
Make Sure the Technology Is Appropriate for Your Type of Driving
Reducing drag to save fuel requires that your driving is normally fast enough for drag to be an issue. This requires long stretches of high-speed driving to see any real return. If you’re a local driver, this isn’t the case. This is also true if your rig is parked most of the time.
Invest in Fairings, One at a Time
Tractor roof fairings, trailer side skirts, and trailer tails are roughly equal in their drag reduction effects. Start with either the tractor roof fairing or the trailer side skirt. If one of these produces results, then try the other. You might want to save the trailer tail for last because you’ll have to fold it in every time you back into a trailer dock, or risk damaging it. Folding it in and redeploying it is extra labor that’s not required of the other two fairings.
Another way to save money is choosing the right Georgia commercial or owner operator truck insurance. To learn more about our affordable truck insurance policies, contact us today.