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The Pros And Cons Of Aerodynamic Trailer Tails

Rear tail fairings (aka trailer tails) are showing up more often on semi trailers on the highways. Trailer tails were first introduced around 2005 and became popular in 2008. Now, more fleets are installing them. Learn about the pros and cons:

Pros

Trailer Tails

Image via STEMCO

Trailer tails are known to increase fuel efficiency by reducing drag. According to the American Trucking Association (ATA), side panels reduce drag on the undercarriage and wheels, and trailer tails reduce drag along the end of the trailer. There are various panel manufacturers and each claims a different fuel efficiency percentage from using the aerodynamic panels. The ATA says various panels have been tested to see the impact on fuel efficiency, and most provide 5 to 15 percent fuel efficiency. The drag reduction and fuel efficiency increases with a faster constant speed (like driving on a highway).

Learn more about drag and aerodynamics in this video:

ATDynamics, a trailer tail manufacturer, says trucks that use trailer tails and travel at least 60,000 miles a year can save around 480 gallons of diesel fuel, which is about 4.9 metric tons of carbon dioxide. That is equivalent to taking a car off of the road for a year.

Cons

There are many benefits to having aerodynamic trailer tails on a trailer, but there are also some negatives.

Trailer tails are only beneficial for trucks traveling long distances on highways. The drag reduction works best at a faster, constant speed. Trailer tails won’t save fuel for trucks making local deliveries.

Trailer tails are expensive, which is why not all long-haul trucks have them installed. The average aerodynamic panel system costs around $2,200, which is a steep price for some trucking companies.

Having a trailer tail installed on your trailer can take some time to get used to. You will have to remember to fold the flaps in before backing up or you could damage the expensive equipment.

Overall, trailer tails are a beneficial investment for trucking companies. They have been proven to increase fuel efficiency and save money after the initial cost of installing the panels. Depending on your trucking fleets’ needs, aerodynamic panels may be a great option to cut down on fuel costs.

Does your fleet use trailer tails, or have you thought of using trailer tails? Let us know!

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