Of all the forces present on a moving vehicle, few can reduce your fuel mileage as much a drag. For this reason, many people are beginning to modify the bodies of their vehicles to increase the aerodynamic efficiency and therefore fuel mileage. It was from this idea that a new way to improve your fuel economy, called Fast Skins, was born.
As the name implies, Fast Skins are nothing more than a covering applied to the exterior of your vehicle. According to the company producing the new vehicle wraps, the same principles that were used to make golf balls fly farther, those little dimples covering the outside, were used in the design of Fast Skins.
The theory goes something like this. Rather than creating a fairly smooth laminar pattern of airflow across the surface of the vehicle, Fast Skins create much more turbulent patterns across the exterior. This will actually reduce the wake area behind the vehicle and, in theory, allow the vehicle to move more freely through the air.
How much more freely? Fast Skins has promised an increase of 18% to 20% in fuel economy, just by putting a new skin on your vehicle. While this seems like a worthwhile investment, no independent studies have been conducted yet. I'm sure most of the world will remain skeptical until some third party testing is complete. However, if they are able to return up to 20% in fuel economy savings, it could usher in a new era of automobile exteriors.