Alexander Winton invented the first semi-truck in 1889. This truck was used to transport the cars that he made to his customers. Since that time, semi-truck manufacturers have made huge technological advancements, design developments, and enhanced productivity.
Environmental Information about Semi-Trucks
Semi-trucks use diesel fuel because it is more efficient than gasoline as it contains more usable energy. Diesel typically contains 10 to 15 percent more energy than gasoline. This allows the vehicle to travel up to 30 percent farther per gallon. Semi-trucks are large and travel long distances, therefore greater fuel efficiency is necessary and will help to save on fuel expenses.
Diesel engines were previously known for producing harmful emissions such as soot, air toxins, and other pollutants. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has found solutions for reducing sulfur levels in diesel fuel to make it better for the environment. According to the EPA, diesel fuel contained more than 5,000 parts per million of sulfur before they began regulating it. In 2006 it was found that the amount of sulfur in diesel fuel is not more than 15 parts per million.
Semi-truck engines are designed to run nonstop. This does not mean that a truck should run for long periods of time. For every hour a semi-truck idles, a gallon of diesel fuel is consumed. Besides increasing fuel expenses, the fuel is not completely burning, which can cause internal engine problems.
A standard semi-truck usually has 10 gears. It is not unusual for them to have 13, 15, or 18 gears either. These gears are used for slowing down and speeding up when hauling heavy loads on different terrain and inclines throughout the nation.
It is dangerous for a tractor-trailer to make U-turns. A tractor-trailer is on average, 70-75 feet long. A vehicle this long would need at lease 55 feet to make a safe U-turn. Truck drivers who attempt to make a U-turn in an area that does not allow enough room, pose a danger to themselves and other motorists. This is because of the number of blind spots a semi-truck has.
Aerodynamic mud flaps help to increase fuel efficiency and safety. Mud flaps protect vehicles, passengers, and pedestrians from debris that can fly off a semi-truck’s tires. They are also designed to improve airflow, reduce water spray, and decrease drag. All of these design methods help to improve fuel efficiency and safety.