Trailer skirts and mpg

Discussion in 'Experienced Truckers' Advice' started by DUNE-T, Jan 4, 2020.

Do trailer skirts improve mpg?

  1. Yes

    25 vote(s)
  2. No

    19 vote(s)
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. Nothereoften

    Nothereoften Light Load Member

    Oct 6, 2018
    Tell green peace the oil is worse for the environment then what western canada produces and let someone named Trudeau run your country
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  3. shoe128

    shoe128 Bobtail Member

    Jun 30, 2018
    More like 0.001pm
  4. slow.rider

    slow.rider Road Train Member

    Apr 4, 2017
    People are saying .1 to .3 mpg fuel savings from the skirts. Using my numbers of @100,000 miles per year @7.1mpg @$2.25/gal, and assuming they only save me .1 mpg, I'm looking at $422 per year saved. Assuming installed cost of $1200, they'd pay for themselves in about 33 months.

    As far as durability, ive seen them get forced to curl so far in that the bottom was perpendicular to the top, and they still sprung right back into shape. It'd take something pretty drastic to mess them up. I've seen messed up ones but can't imagine how it might have happened. Never saw it happen nor heard a story of how it might be done. Maybe some are built better than others.

    The new tail fins are much smaller than the OG version, and are basically invisible unless you're looking for them. They also now have a little wedge that fits across the top front of the trailer, which redirects much of the air that hits the front of the trailer to slide over it instead.

    If each of those systems plus low resistance tires delivered just 0.1mpg each, using my modest numbers I'd be looking at $1,688.00 per year saved, with 100% ROI in about 30 months. After that, it's free money.
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2021
  5. abyliks

    abyliks Road Train Member

    May 2, 2010
    ludlow MA
    I didn’t leave mine on long enough to check fuel, they definitely get in the way of a tool box and spare tire carrier, and I’ve already got a 285” wheelbase hood so I’m not expecting miracles as it is, but I run less then 70k a year
    jason6541 Thanks this.
  6. gentleroger

    gentleroger Road Train Member

    Jun 1, 2010
    That .1 mpg increase is a REALLY low estimate. Back in 2011 my company started retrofitting the skirts onto trailers to be CA compliant. The original plan was to retrofit only enough trailers to make sure we stayed compliant, new trailers would be bought with skirts pre-installed. Late 2012/early 2013 the company decided to rapidly install skirts on all trailers because we were seeing a .5 mpg difference. Our Fuel Guy said break even was less than 12 months, even considering our trailers spend 1/3 of their time sitting in a yard.

    The rest of the crap is just that - crap. We've tried the trailer tails 3 times. The first two times they didn't make it out of closed loop testing. The third time they had an "auto deploy" system that showed promise, but when they went into general use they got tore up in a hurry - the mechanisms were getting bent by the dock shrouds.
    slow.rider Thanks this.
  7. slow.rider

    slow.rider Road Train Member

    Apr 4, 2017
    There's new tails which are durable, unobtrusive, and have no moving parts:


    Quest Trailer - SmartTruck TopKit Aero System
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2021
  8. Tb0n3

    Tb0n3 Road Train Member

    Oct 5, 2012
    I just don't understand those that put them on flats.
  9. Moosetek13

    Moosetek13 Road Train Member

    Nov 1, 2010
    Burnsville, MN
    I've seen those on many trailers.

    One question:
    The skirts also help a bit with cross winds because they block much of the air from getting under the trailer.
    Do these devices have the same effect?
  10. slow.rider

    slow.rider Road Train Member

    Apr 4, 2017
    I don't think so but I'm not sure.
  11. Val_Caldera

    Val_Caldera Road Train Member

    Apr 2, 2021
    Parked at Banning scale ONCE for an overnight (in '14 or '15, after being cited for Tandems Too Far Back ([w-i-d-e holes set in 8th] and the well known buffoons did the measurement with marks on RIGHT side of trailer), so anyways, I watched passing traffic and noticed NO Skateboards or Tankers having the "skirts", but gosh, Dry Van and Reefer Drivers were penalized. (Ticket/Fine/Punishment was just over $200.00)

    Strong enough wind (along with "shrapnel") and the "skirts" can be redesigned.

    I never noticed a "Handling difference" with/without skirts, m.t. or ldd.

    National control by C.A.R.B.!!
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