While looking through past blogs I came across one I wrote several years ago and yes the trucks are still idleing. 

Truck idling affects our environment and our energy supply in various ways. Trucks consume one gallon of diesel fuel for each hour at idle, using as much as 2,400 gallons of fuel every year, per truck. This totals 1.2 billion gallons of diesel fuel consumed every year from idling, costing $1.8 billion. On average, each idling truck produces about 21 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) and 0.3 tons of nitrogen oxides (NOx) annually totaling over 11 million tons and 150,000 tons, respectively. Diesel exhaust is made up of particulates, sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons and additional air toxics.

Idling emissions can contribute to early health issues. Such as: early death, bronchitis, respiratory symptoms and asthma attacks. These illnesses contribute to hospital visits and lost work days. Engine idling also results in higher maintenance costs associated with extreme wear to the engine. Research has shown that maintenance can cost over $300.00 annually due to idling.

One survey involved participants from 55,000 trucks, allowing researchers to compile a comprehensive profile of idling and the use of idle reduction technologies. The study found: sleeper cabs were reported to idle an average of 28 hours per week, which equals to 1,456 hours annually. Day cabs idles an average of 6 hours per week or 312 hours annually.

Approximately 36% of respondents with sleeper cabs used onboard idle reduction technologies, which provide power for heaters, air conditioners, and/or in cab appliances while eliminating main engine idling. These technologies were reported to be used an average of 29 hours per week or 1,589 hours annually.

The most common onboard technology was direct fired heaters, which were used by 32% of participants with sleeper cabs.

Battery powered air conditioners were used by 24% of participants with sleeper cabs, while auxiliary power units/generator sets were used by 12% of respondents with sleeper cabs.

The above information was conducted through surveys I located on the internet. Most of the views seem to stem from people who have the luxury of sleeping at home in their own bed every night. My personal issue in regards to idling has been the thought of wearing out an expensive engine prematurely. I was never able to sleep knowing that the idling was wearing on my equipment. As I lay awake, my thoughts were on all the revenue producing miles that were disappearing as the engine idled. Prior to having the Park-Smart, battery powered HVAC System; I employed a very frugal approach to keeping comfortable in various weather conditions. I had a 12 volt heating pad (Electro-Warmth) and a high quality fan which fit into the side window of my sleeper cab. The total cost for these items was under $150.00. I was fortunate not to operate in many of the extreme climates as many drivers do. In the summer, if the temps remained under 80 degrees at night, I was comfortable. In the winter, I slept in temperatures as low as -5 degrees. Now mind you… when I got out of bed, I couldn’t get to my keys quick enough to turn on the engine for some heat. When I was just beginning my business, this was a huge savings vs. buying an APU or idling the truck.

Today, I’m spoiled with the new Park-Smart HVAC System provided on my new Freightliner Cascadia. I would definitely have a difficult time adjusting back to my previous system. With continued research and new idle reduction technologies, we have more comforts available today than ever in our industry.

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Henry Albert

Henry Albert is the owner of Albert Transport, Inc., based in Statesville, NC. Before participating in the "Slice of Life" program, Albert drove a 2001 Freightliner Century Class S/Tâ„¢, and will use his Cascadia for general freight and a dry van trailer. Albert, who has been a trucker since 1983, was recognized by Overdrive as its 2007 Trucker of the Year.

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