Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Fuel Efficiency Pays For Adaptations To Freight Trailers Say Haulage Group

Investment in Drag Reducing Technology is Worthwhile
Shipping News Feature

US – We have covered previously the various adaptations, some quite exotic, available as additions to standard freight trailer designs which can reduce fuel costs, in some cases quite dramatically. With the bog standard road trailer having all the aerodynamic efficiency of a house brick the use of air dams, deflectors and the like have become the norm for haulage operators purchasing equipment but it seems there are always ways to squeeze out the extra mpg.

Despite the cost of diesel appearing ridiculously cheap to European eyes it seems the US trucker can still find a way to make a worthwhile saving in running costs by fitting suitable skirting to his rig. Freight Wing Inc. is a Seattle based manufacturer of products designed to enhance truck performance and they have just seen an order from near neighbours Gordon Trucking for 2,000 of the company’s Aeroflex side skirts for fitting to their fleet of trailers.

This was no sudden impulse purchase by Gordon’s, they have been testing Freight Wing products for the past seven years and already run over 2,000 trucks fitted with the company’s drag reduction products. According to Gordon’s, the 24th largest truckload carrier in the States, each trailer sees a 0.3 mile per gallon improvement when fitted with the skirts which the company estimates will save 13,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year if they outfit their entire fleet, not to mention the potential $4.5 million saved in fuel costs!

Freight Wing have developed their particular product with durability in mind, the specialised plastic used won’t delaminate like fibre glass or bend like metal but it is estimated in normal use to last around ten years, flexing or abrading when in contact with the road surface yet retaining integrity.

Return on investment for most big rigs will be less than 50,000 miles at today’s fuel prices and with ecologically aware California prohibiting the sale of trailers without skirts from this year, and refusing admission to any truck not suitably kitted out by 2013, it looks like the estimated 7% fuel saving which Freight Wing claim for their product might well be simply a no brainer for any sizeable truck operator.