Want more money in your pocket? Let’s take a look at your fuel economy. Whether you’re in charge of a large fleet or an independent owner/operator, attention to fuel efficiency could have a significant, long-term effect on your bottom line. There are multiple factors that affect fuel economy: driver experience, road conditions, load weight, and specifications just to name a few. Some things are out of your control, naturally, so don’t get all worked up. As for the things you can control, here’s a list of opportunities. Enjoy!
1. Know Your Role!
First things first, it’s important to know what you’re hauling. There is never a one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to hauling. However, understanding your load can help you maximize fuel economy. Whether you’re ordering a customized new trailer or purchasing a used trailer consider these specifications: cross member spacing, side post spacing, wall thickness, ceiling thickness, wheel composition, interior lining composition, outside panel composition, floor type, roof type, etc.
For instance, the closer your cross members, the more material used. More material means more weight, more trailer weight means less load weight. Less load weight, means more trips. Capiche? The same applies to side post spacing, and wall and ceiling thickness. Don’t forget stainless steel weighs more than aluminum (duh), but there are advantages to both. Freedom of choice rules.
Bottom line: What are you hauling, and where can you “trim the fat?”
2. Where the Rubber Meets the Road
Making changes to your current trailer spec is difficult, costly, and time consuming. However, let’s take a look at those tires. You should be checking these each trip anyway, but here are some knowledge nuggets about tires and tire accessories.
The most obvious? Tire pressure. Make sure your tire pressure is where it’s supposed to be, and don’t forget about the inner tire too!
Next, what kind of tires do you have? Low Rolling Resistance tires can help save fuel economy. Plus, this may become mandatory moving forward. Better safe than sorry.
Tire Inflation Systems are becoming more and more popular and it’s a real possibility for these to become required in the near future. Tire Inflation Systems can help save time and repair costs. A Tire Inflation System can save you the cost of a new set of tires during the lifetime of the trailer.
Bottom line: Your tires are a great place to start when thinking about fuel efficiency.
3. Break Wind
Stop it… We’re talking about aerodynamics.
There are numerous aerodynamic accessories to help improve your fuel economy. Let’s start with side skirts. Utility Trailer Manufacturing just released their redesigned side skirts. These particular side skirts could provide a fuel savings of 5% or more.
Tail wings are another option. STEMCO’s TrailerTail claims to deliver over 5% fuel savings with their product, plus other advantages. Plus, your trailer will start to look like a spaceship. Cool!
There are some other options, like those offered by SmartTruck, that have similar functions. They offer underbody sleds (under trays), diffusers, rain guards, and side and top fairings. SmartTruck claims fuel savings of 10% or more with all their options added.
Bottom line: Aerodynamic accessories can boost your fuel economy. They’re being mandated by federal law, but lucky for you there are multiple options available.
There you have it, a few opportunities to help save you money. Need more information? Talk to our team. Our sales, parts, and service departments have the knowledge and know-how in all things trailers. Plus, they like to help people.