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How Big Rigs are Reducing Idling

March 9, 2006

With air quality and noise concerns prompting local governments and at least 18 states to regulate idling, many in the trucking industry are beginning to look for new solutions, according to a report by The Messenger in Fort Doge, Iowa.Trucking companies in Iowa are currently installing fuel fire bunk heaters as a short-term solution to keep drivers warm in the winter and allow them to power down their trucks to reduce emissions. Some companies are even offering a monthly bonus to the driver who has the lowest idling time.Some travel centers are proactively working with truckers by offering them IdleAire-equipped truck parking stalls, which provide cable TV, telephone, Internet service, electricity, heat and air conditioning via units that mount in a cab window. The $1.50 per hour cost of the systems, amount to exactly half of what it costs truckers when idling.According to The Messenger article, the ideal solution would be to equip trucks with auxiliary powered units (APU) that utilize a hydrogen fuel cell – a non-polluting power source. However, at $8,000 a pop, many are waiting to see exactly how beneficial they are.The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that idling rigs burn more than one billion gallons of diesel fuel a year, spewing more than 11 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions, 180,000 tons of nitrogen oxide emissions and 5,000 tons of particulate pollutants annually.
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