STREAMLINING MAKES A BIG DIFFERENCE: Air resistance is a huge problem for automotive engineers. This is especially true for the trucking industry. With enormous vehicles hauling enormous loads, aerodynamics issues have long taken a back seat in design. Now, with concerns over fuel prices and environmental impacts increasing, engineers are attempting to tweak truck cabs and trailers in hopes of reducing the air resistance and, consequently, the amount of fuel consumed.
MPG COMPARISONS: When traveling the same distance, what would save more fuel, improving fuel efficiency of Vehicle A from 8 miles per gallon to 10, or improving the fuel efficiency of a Vehicle B from 25 mpg to 50? Surprisingly, the answer is that the Vehicle A saves more gas. Over the course of 100 miles, the Vehicle A uses 12.5 gallons of gas at 8 mpg, and 10 gallons at 10 mpg, a savings of 2.5 gallons. Vehicle B would use 4 gallons of gas at 25 mpg, and 2 gallons of gas at 50 mpg, a savings of 2 gallons. Although driving a vehicle that uses the least gas is the optimum situation in terms of the emissions and the cost, this example highlights the way small improvements in mileage can add up to savings for the trucking industry.