Trucking is a carbon-intensive business.  In the U.S., commercial trucks burn roughly 50 billion gallons of fuel each year. Long-haul shipments in Class 8 trucks account for most of that. By themselves, combinations of tractors and box-type trailers moving at highway speeds are responsible for approximately 7% of U.S. petroleum consumption, corresponding to nearly 3% of national carbon dioxide emissions.

That's one side of the story. The other side is that, according to the McKinsey Global Institute, improving the fuel economy of freight transportation is among of the most cost-effective means of mitigating climate change and achieving energy independence. Trailer aerodynamics, moreover, is among the most cost-effective means of improving the fuel economy of freight transportation.  And trailer aerodynamics are optimal on box-type trailers moving at highway speeds, which account for the lion's share of the impact of trucking on energy and the environment.

Studies conducted by the Southwest Research Institute show that, relative to incremental cost, trailer aerodynamics generates a disproportionately high share of the 18% reduction in oil use and carbon dioxide emissions that is achievable using a commercially available suite of SmartWay-approved technologies.

ATDynamics has shown that next-generation trailer aerodynamics alone will improve the highway fuel economy of Class 8 tractor-trailers by over 15% with immediately available technology already delivering 8-12% fuel efficiency gains to ATDynamics customers.  Together with other advanced technologies, including tractor aerodynamics and powertrain innovations, trailer aerodynamics can help meet the U.S. Department of Energy's goal of improving the freight efficiency of Class 8 tractor-trailers (measured in ton-miles per gallon) by 50%.

Whether viewed as part of an advanced vehicles program, or as its own “stabilization wedge,” trailer aerodynamics should be integral to any cost-effective, innovation-based approach to reducing oil use and carbon dioxide emissions.

To discuss the impact of trucking on energy and the environment, and innovations that address it, please Contact Us

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