Tuesday, November 14, 2006

How To Save 1 Billion Gallons of Fuel Annually

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).

Technologies that improve truck aerodynamics in several key areas include:
  • 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.
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.
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.

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

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