California Jump Start

Max Kvidera | October 01, 2011

“I was dumbfounded,” Fleig says. “I figured I’d be below 6. On my next fuel up I got 7.3 mpg. Since then I’ve been in the high 6s and low 7s.”

Rose estimated Fleig’s ROI after 35,000 miles. “I wish I had done it years ago,” says Lake Villa, Ill.-based Fleig, leased to Landstar.

For Larson, the combination of a new tractor and trailer has made a big difference. With the old tractor, he was getting 5.5-5.8 mpg. With the new truck, his fuel economy increased 0.5 mpg, and the trailer outfitted with aerodynamics improved it another 0.5. He estimates that 1 mpg improvement increases his profit by 12-14 cents a mile.

California regs for small fleets

California Air Resources Board regulations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from trailers are divided by fleet size: those with 20 or fewer trailers and those with more than 20. Both groups can register with the state a schedule for bringing a percentage of their 2010 and older trailers into compliance each year.

The regs apply to all 53-foot or longer van and reefer trailers that operate in the state no matter where they are registered. On-highway tractors are also covered under the regulations for low rolling resistance tires.

All 2010 and older van trailers must be SmartWay-certified or retrofitted with aerodynamic technologies that produce at least a 4 percent fuel savings. Compliance is required by Jan. 1, 2013. In addition, those trailers must be outfitted with low rolling resistance tires by Jan. 1, 2017. For 2011 dry vans and reefers, the compliance date was Jan. 1, 2010.

Compliance dates vary for older reefers. For 2007-2009 reefers: Jan. 1, 2020; for 2005-2006: Jan. 1, 2019; and for 2003-2004: Jan. 1, 2018.

Owners of small fleets have the option of applying for a phase-in schedule for their 2010 and older trailers, which can range from 2014 to 2017. Owners must submit a compliance plan by July 1, 2012.

All 2010 and older sleeper and day cab tractors are required to have low rolling resistance tires by Jan. 1, 2013.

For more information, go to and search for “trailer,” or call the diesel hotline at (866) 634-3735.

Comparing the fuel savers

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  • John McGuire

    I also recently purchased a TrailerTail from ATDynamics. I have already noticed an improvement in my fuel mileage, great solution for me, and a great product.

  • Gordon A

    For me it would be a moot point to install this stuff. When my engine was overhauled the Federal regulations made the dealership ( not their choice) install in the ECM EPA and CARB programing that cost me 2 miles to a gallon . Instead of getting the usual 8+ mpg I now get 6.50 on a good day. Same loads, same highways.
    I simply refuse to bend over backwards for California. Rates will not get better, roads will not get be smoother, the truck speed limit will not increase. Profits will stay the same and the investment more than likely won’t improve the bottom line enough to off set the cost over a five year period.

    How will they know your fuel mileage is increased by the 4 percent? Will they soon require you to send them your fuel tickets with speedometer readings from the year before to present?
    Just wondering as California is so wired to start with. strives to maintain an open forum for reader opinions. Click here to read our comment policy.