November 15, 2006

Aerodynamic trucks could save one billion gallons of fuel a year, study says

Washington, D.C. – The U.S. could save nearly one billion gallons of fuel annually by adopting new aerodynamic technologies on tractor-trailers, according to a two-year study conducted by members of the Truck Manufacturers Association (TMA) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

Four TMA members – International Truck and Engine Corporation, Freightliner LLC, Mack Trucks Inc. and Volvo Trucks North America – teamed with the DOE to study a variety of design improvements that would reduce aerodynamic drag and significantly improve fuel efficiency. The companies comprise 75 per cent of the U.S. market for Class 8 trucks.

The technologies include a gap enclosure, which reduces aerodynamic drag in the gap between tractor and trailer; side skirts, which reduce airflow under the trailer in crosswinds; boat tails, to minimize “wake” airflow; and reconfigured side mirrors. The combined effects of all aerodynamic improvements on one vehicle could result in as great as 23 per cent reduction in aerodynamic drag; each two per cent reduction in drag results in a one per cent improvement in fuel efficiency.

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