Aero non-use angst

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Updated Sep 26, 2013

The other day I was on my way to work, making my way down the interstate (the place where the inspiration for 90 percent of my blog posts originates), when I approached a slower-moving tractor-trailer from one of the nation’s largest and most recognizable fleets. The trailer was equipped with one of those new-fangled aerodynamic devices that fold outward to create an extension that helps improve airflow over the rear.

Except for some reason, the aerodynamic device was closed up. In effect, the driver wasn’t using the apparatus, leaving the trailer pretty much like most other trailers on the road – with a flat back.

This left me scratching my head for a moment – with one hand still on the steering wheel, mind you. Is there any real point to having such a contraption on a trailer if your driver’s not even going to use it?

For one thing, these things ain’t cheap. I’m not sure of the exact price for these devices, but I’m pretty sure I don’t have enough money in my wallet to pay for one.

Also, I recently received a quick education in how simple these things are to open and close, courtesy of a clever video by CCJ Executive Editor Jack Roberts from this year’s Great American Trucking Show.

So, we’ve covered the fleet’s investment and ease of operation. Now, we get to the sheer purpose of the aero rig – enhancing fuel efficiency. By not using the device after paying for it, you’re literally throwing money away twice.

Here we have a proven investment in money and effort, and it’s not being enjoyed to its full benefit – even if it’s staring us right in the face.

It’s a lot like:
• Going to the circus to satisfy a cotton candy craving.
• Being an AC/DC fan because of the poetic lyrics.
• A passenger on the Titanic saying that life preserver won’t be necessary.
• Using premium beer to complement a Quarter Pounder.
• Buying tickets to a sold-out football game from a scalper just to see the halftime band.
• Watching “The King’s Speech” for the special effects.

I could go on – and I know you really would like to kill a few more minutes of your workday with a few more of my lame one-liners – but you get the point. Fleets, if you’re going to spend the bucks to save a few dollars at the pump, you’d better have a way to make sure your drivers are making the most of your investment.