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When it comes to the trucking industry, the issue of semi-trailer efficiency is always a top concern of both sole proprietors, and large fleets alike. With the numerous technological advancements in terms of aerodynamics, many larger fleets have implemented things like skirts, tails, and other devices to their trailers. According to a recent trucking efficiency report by the American Transportation Research Institute however, smaller fleets and individuals are slow to apply these new technologies.
While smaller fleets might not have the capital or desire to implement aerodynamic devices on their own, government regulations like the 2nd Phase of the Greenhouse Gas and Fuel Economy rules might just force their hand.
Starting in January of 2018, every 53-foot box trailer will be manufactured with trailer skirts. By 2021, implementing devices like tail extenders, gap reducers, and tire-pressure monitors on all trailers will be necessary in order to meet the new EPA regulations. While many owner-operators may see this as a costly hassle to their business, there are some major benefits that these devices provide.
These different aero devices are designed with fuel efficiency in mind. By reducing the amount of power required to pull box trailers at high speeds, the amount of fuel burned in the process is also reduced. Devices like side skirts, and trailer tails can help increase fuel savings by 3-6% in most cases. When you take these savings into account, paying for these devices over the course of 1-2 years is not out of the question.
The fact of the matter is, the savings and payoff time figures have been based on the assumption that these devices will function properly and not require damage maintenance. As many of us know from experience, maintenance and malfunctions are a natural part of driving for a living. While the benefits are obvious, the potential for issues is exactly why so many smaller fleets and individuals have opted not to implement these devices.
With future government regulations already put in place, there is no escaping the fact that drivers and fleets will need to make changes to their trailers. One of the best things that you can do to make this transition is to purchase quality equipment. While the device you choose to add is extremely important, equally important is the trailer that it is attached to. Please contact us with any questions, or to discuss the right trailer solutions for you.
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