Increasing Trailer Efficiency

The fuel efficiency of the trailer you pull can be just as important as the MPG you squeeze out on your rig.  When it comes to reefer trailers, you’re talking about efficiency of the trailer and the unit.


the efficient trailer:


The modern dry van or reefer trailer looks a lot like it did 40 years ago, but it’s primarily the things that surround the box that make all the difference.


Skirts & Tails:  a trailer equipped with traditional trailer skirts (from landing gear to rear trailer axles) and tails, can improve fuel efficiency as much as 1-2%.  Which is more important?  The skirts…by a ratio of 2-to-1.  How much to you spend on fuel per year?  How about over the life of the trailer?  We hear from companies that don’t want to “mess with” the tails for loading and unloading, but the skirts are a must.


Wheel Covers:  Wheel covers?  Really?  Yep.  They really do matter.  We have seen data that might surprise you.  For a small cost, you can drive another fraction of a percent off your fuel cost.  They may look funny at first, but you’ll get used to them quick when you realize they pay for themselves in the first few months.


Super Singles:  I know, I know…you want to run duals.  If you’re looking to squeeze a few more percent out of your fuel budget, give super singles one more look.  Many of the biggest fleets are running them, and they’re pinching every penny.


The efficient reefer unit:


This is not the blog for me to take a position on Carrier versus ThermoKing.  I can make a strong argument for both.  What I am saying is that there is a difference.


Carrier units run at a lower RPM, have a larger engine displacement, and run a system that drops to a lower cycle rate.  The larger compressor pumps more BTUs (by a little) and cools your load quicker.  Once the load is cold, the compressor uses fewer pistons, just three, (Carrier’s have 6 compared to TKs with 4), essentially shutting down part of the engine until it is needed again.


Argue with me about reliability of Carrier vs. TK; or tell me that you can get a TK repaired in more shops; but you’re not going to convince me that Carrier units aren’t more fuel-efficient than TKs.





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