Trucks with Skirts – What Next?
That headline caught your eye, didn’t it? But seriously, skirts can help a truck’s fuel mileage in a big way. Check this release with the eye-popping stats:
For the past six years, Macon Cunningham, a Venice, Fla.-based O/O has driven 4,250 miles per week with his wife, Christina, 44 weeks a year. They have a roundtrip loop that takes them from St. Louis to Bakersfield, Calif, up to San Jose, over to Salt Lake City and onto St. Joseph, Miss., before heading back to St. Louis.
Hauling copy machines and hospital equipment for Unigroup, expenses are easy to document since Cunningham runs the same weight, same distance, same roads, day-in and day-out.
“I know my fuel economy to the tenth of a mile,” he said. “And, I know if I make a change in how my truck or trailer is configured, I can document that too since my route is exactly the same each and every time.”
Case in point: going from 6.49 mpg to 6.78 mpg from February to May 2011 versus the same time period in 2012. The difference? “Trailer side skirts on our 53-foot box trailer,” Cunningham said. “When Unigroup put on Freight Wing’s box trailer side skirts on the trailer I haul for them, my fuel economy immediately went up. I was extremely skeptical when I saw the skirts – I didn’t think they could impact air-flow and aerodynamics. I was utterly surprised when I saw my fuel economy numbers jump the way they did.”
Tallying up the impact to the Cunningham’s bottom line, it’s meant the potential to save more than $4,500 a year in fuel costs (based on fuel at $3.67 per gallon). “That’s huge for us,” said Cunningham. “I know that Unigroup is moving to the side skirts to stay compliant with California CARB rules, so we’ve seen first-hand the true meaning of the regulation and that is to save fuel and lower emissions. We’re reaping the benefit.”
Attached to the belly boxes (which hold decking, ramps, and additional storage) on each side of the trailer, the fairings are made of automotive grade plastic. A full fairing starts at the beginning of the trailer and connects to the belly box directing airflow around the storage container. The belly box profile is then extended downward with the Freight Wing fairing to about 8 inches from the ground.
According to Sean Graham, Freight Wing’s president, the CARB-compliant box fairings are the first in the industry and have been tested to improve fuel economy by up to 5 percent. “They’re also very robust and durable,” said Graham. “Weighing in at 80 pounds, the fairings are able to flex and bend, so if the fairing hits a curb, or scrapes the ground, they bounce back and keep their shape. With a low cost for the fairings, coupled with easy installation – typically one – to two hours, the return on investment on our belly box fairings can be measured in just months.”
About Freight Wing
Freight Wing’s mission is to provide practical fleet fuel savings through innovative improvements to the aerodynamic profile of semi trailers. It manufactures and distributes a full line of fairings, including trailer side skirts, belly fairings, and gap fairings and customized products for a variety of trucking applications. www.freightwing.com