By now everyone has seen prototypes of “cars of tomorrow”. Whether in Popular Mechanics or the local Drive section of the daily paper, these cars have a particular look about them. To me they tend to look like alien aircraft on wheels, with sleek bodies and pointy front ends. There is a driving force behind these designs, and that is fuel efficiency. As government regulations raise minimum MPG ratings auto companies are looking to sleeker body designs to help reduce drag (drag simply put, is the ease of which a car moves through the air). By accounting for this resistance of wind one can maximize the fuel efficiency and reach increasing MPG ratings.
Some other areas that automakers have looked to reduce drag is in the angle of the front window, adding rear spoilers, lowering the vehicle at speed and making sure the under parts are tucked into the vehicle.
Obviously everyone cannot run out and buy a sleeker vehicle but some simple steps can be done in the meantime such as removing accessories from outside your car. Par down the novelty items such as flags, antennae toppers, and don’t leave accessories on your vehicle such as bike and roof racks. Also rolling up your windows when your speed is above 35mpg will improve the aerodynamics.
Click below to see how one company is field testing some ideas to reduce drag and save fuel cost on their fleet.