The widespread application of new aerodynamic technologies on tractor-trailer trucks could cut US fuel consumption by nearly one billion gallons per year, according to the results of a two-year collaborative study conducted by members of the Truck Manufacturers Association (TMA) and the US Department of Energy (DOE).That is an impressive savings. At $2 a gallon, that is a savings of $2 billion. I would think that there would be a financial incentive to make this happen.
Technologies that improve truck aerodynamics in several key areas include:
The calculation of one billion gallons is based on the Census Bureau’s 2002 Vehicle Inventory and Use Survey (VIUS). It assumes 750,000 tractor/van semi-trailer combination-unit trucks in operation traveling a total of 60,101 million miles. A 10% improvement in average fuel economy from 5.5 mpg to 6.05 mpg results in saving approximately 993.4 million gallons of fuel per year.
- Gap Enclosure: reduces aerodynamic drag in the gap between the tractor and trailer.
- Side Skirts: improves aerodynamics and reduces airflow under the trailer in crosswinds.
- Boat Tails: tapers back of trailer to minimalize wake airflow.
- Side Mirror Design: reconfigures shape and support systems to reduce aerodynamic drag.
At 60.1 billion miles and 5.5 mpg that is 10.9 billion gallons of fuel a year. With 300 million Americans that works out to 36 gallons of fuel per person to transport all of our goods each year.
As large as 1 billion gallons sounds, keep in mind that the US uses around 150 billion gallons of gasoline a year, so this would be less than a 1% savings. But, save a billion gallons here, a billion gallons there, and all of a sudden you are talking real savings.
via Green Car Congress