Coming to a highway near you? Tapered semi-trailers
Semi-trucks are constantly cruising the highways of America, delivering everything from organic basil to La-Z-Boy recliners. All the miles that truckers put on these modern beasts of burden use a lot of gasoline, but the European public-private consortium behind Platform for Aerodynamic Road Transport could be here with a fairly simple and elegant solution: tapered rear ends.
PART claims that the six-foot device that hangs off the rear end of the trailer can improve fuel efficiency up to 7.5 percent. That's not a terrible increase for the Prius. On ultra-low MPG vehicles like these, it's a huge deal. PART has been testing these tails for two years, and also has a lot of other aerodynamic ideas for large trucks: side panels, aero mirrors, and even aerodynamic mud flaps. Put everything together on one truck, PART says, and you'll see fuel economy improvements of more than 20 percent. Almost makes us want to become truckers.
[Source: PART via Gas 2.0]