Discovering the Role of Fuel Efficient Design in Trailers

Fuel efficient trailer

Discovering the Role of Fuel Efficient Design in Trailers

Trucking companies are busier than ever, yet they are at risk of their own successes. As the price of diesel continues to skyrocket and market demands push industries further towards making real changes when it comes to energy efficiency, the need for lighter and more aerodynamically designed trailers has significantly increased. If both large and small operators don’t take steps to reduce fuel consumption when it comes to freight, they’ll struggle to maintain profits and thrive as businesses.

With that in mind, trailer manufacturers and freight operators have both worked to improve the design of trailers. Utilizing a range of design improvements, the industry continues to move in the direction of safer and sleeker dry freight and refrigerated trailers. Here we’ll discuss some of the steps being taken to address the fuel efficiency of trailers in the trucking industry:

Reducing Drag

When it comes to taking a bite out of fuel costs, one of the first things to consider is drag. Drag is when air becomes trapped between different parts of the trailer and slows down the truck during forward movement. One of the biggest contributors to drag is the underbelly of a trailer. This problem with lower drag is only compounded by higher rate of speeds as more and more air is trapped in the underside of the unit.

One of the best ways to overcome the effects of drag while moving is by equipping the trailer with side skirts. Side skirts attach to the underside and stop air from becoming trapped during movement. Side skirts are also incredibly economical and are one of the most cost-effective ways to increase fuel efficiency in both dry freight and refrigerated trailers.

Traditionally, trailers have employed a box-like design to maximize the space for freight. Although effective for increasing storage capabilities, trailers’ square shape significantly increases drag. Another way to reduce the effects of drag is to install a nose cone on the front of the trailer. Nose cones are designed to help push air around the front of the trailer above the truck cab. With the rounded shape, air flows more easily around the unit while in motion.

Finally, another option to reduce drag and increase fuel efficiency by as much as 15% is the use of a tail. Trailer tails are designed to open and extend the length of the trailer while being hauled. They guide air around the unit during movement and work best for long-hauls when drivers are traveling extended distances via interstate highways.

Balancing Production Costs With Lightweight Designs

Manufacturers have employed many ways to make trailers lighter and thus more fuel-efficient. Yet, there’s one big factor holding back trailer manufacturers from going the extra mile when it comes to lightweight designs; cost.

Almost all lightweight designs utilize composite materials in place of more traditional components. The prices associated with composites are considerably higher than using conventional materials. Yet, as fuel costs continue to rise, trailer manufacturers are stressing the importance of long-term savings. Yes, a lightweight trailer may cost more initially, but the benefits of running such units in a fleet far outweigh the disadvantages. Lighter trailers require less fuel and can increase payload capacity.

Reducing Rolling Resistance

Rolling resistance is another form of drag that negatively impacts fuel efficiency. Unfortunately, for many years, tire manufacturers didn’t take into consideration low-resistance designs when it came to trailer tires. Durability and other cost-driven factors were often the primary concerns when it came to production. As the importance of fuel efficiency comes into the spotlight, manufacturers have now shifted their focus to more drag-resistant tire design.

Over time, fleet companies and independent drivers will notice a significant reduction in fuel consumption by just having low-resistance tires on their trucks and trailers. Using low-resistance tires can save operators up to 10% in fuel costs. With today’s current surge in diesel prices, the costs associated with purchasing low-resistance tires are quickly offset by fuel savings.

ANJER: Your Source for Fuel-Efficient Freight Solutions in Philadelphia and the Surrounding Areas

When it comes to saving money with fuel-efficient truck bodies, trailers, and accessories, ANJER has you covered. We’re family-owned and operated and a trusted source for freight solutions in the Philadelphia area. ANJER offers a complete line of new and used trailers and truck bodies and a professional service shop that specializes in installing fuel-efficient accessories. If you’ve been searching for used dry van trailers for sale or to have a liftgate installation performed on an existing truck body or trailer, contact our team today!

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