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New Devices Saves Borderland Transportation Company Millions On Gas

Borderland drivers may have noticed a new addition to area trucks: wings.

These devices, called boat tails, are attached to the back of truck trailers to increase fuel economy.

ABC-7 went to a local transportation company who is installing thousands of these devices on their trucks to see how they work.

“Behind every trailer, this flat surface creates drag or negative air. If you’ve ever noticed if you get in behind a truck and follow real close you almost don’t have to give your car any gas because this truck is pulling that negative air,” said Mesilla Valley Transportation President Royal Jones.

These boat tails change that pocket of airflow to decrease drag, which increases efficiency. The boat tails alone save about 6 percent in fuel.

That might not sound like a lot, but considering Jones said his company uses 1.7 million gallons of fuel a month, with fuel prices topping $4 a gallon, that translates to nearly $400,000 a month saved by these new devices.

“It’s benefiting the company and it’s benefiting the driver too. Because if the company is making money then they are going to pay their drivers money,” said MVT driver Kenneth Hollyfield.

One might expect that a device that saves so much fuel would be complicated and bulky, but the design is made to be simple and compact.

When the unit isn’t unfolded it looks pretty normal but all it takes is one pull of a cord per side and you pull the unit out and it’s ready to save gas.

The boat tails are just the latest innovation in a long list of fuel-saving gadgets the transportation industry has adopted in the past decade.

ABC-7 spoke with one driver who has been following his gas consumption closely over his 40-year driving career and has seen quite a change in efficiency.

“The trucks we started with averaged 4 miles to the gallon. The one I’m driving now has got up to 11,” said truck-driving veteran Billy Elkins.

So far, MVT has installed the boat tails on 3,200 of their 4,000-vehicle fleet.

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