LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Trailer tails, which extend off the rear of the trailer to improve aerodynamics, are not just being used by fleets to improve fuel mileage, they’re now also being purchased to attract owner/operators.
Prime Inc. has announced it is equipping all the trailers it has on order through the remainder of 2013, some 450 trailers, with Trailer Tails from ATDynamics. Andrew Smith, CEO of ATDynamics, spoke of the agreement at the Mid-America Trucking Show today.
He said Prime initially had concerns about the durability of the tails, but has conducted extensive testing for both fuel economy and durability. The company found equipping its trailers with Trailer Tails can provide owner/operators with an extra three cents of revenue per mile.
For an O/O running 120,000 miles per year, that totals additional income of about $3,600 in their pocket, which makes it an attractive proposition when considering who to go work for, Smith pointed out.
“It is highly visible to drivers, which trucking companies are the most fuel efficient in the industry and they are using it as a recruiting incentive,” Smith said.
Trailer tails are now being used by more than 160 US fleets, with 30 of them deploying the tails on all their trailers. Smith said the company expects to have deployed more than 50,000 trailer tails by 2014.
In addition to the fuel savings, Smith said they also discourage tailgating, improve the stability of the trailer and reduce road spray in wet conditions.
Retrofit installments can be done in less than 45 minutes and they retail for about US$2,200, with significant volume discounts available.
In Canada, however, the full-sized trailer tails are still illegal. Smith said he’s expecting an announcement in Canada within the next four months, which will pave the way for their more widespread use. For now, Canadian fleets looking to benefit from the fuel savings have to fold them in when they cross into Canada, though they can still enjoy the fuel savings in the US.
ATDynamics came out with a smaller nano-tail, which complies with Canadian regulations, but Smith said he’d encourage Canadian operators to wait until the full-sized tails are approved, as they deliver much greater benefits.
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