There are 1.3 million long-haul trucks, diesel-powered rigs with sleeper cabs, on the American roads right now. By law, long-haul truckers are only allowed to drive for 10 hours before needing an 8 hour rest period. During the down time, few truckers stay in motels — they’re too expensive, and leaves the cargo at risk of theft. Instead, they usually stay in their cabs, with the engine idling to power their various appliances (TVs, etc.) and their air conditioning/heaters.
Extended idling is a problem, though. Communities hate the noise. It shortens the life of engines. It eats fuel (and at current fuel prices, that’s a serious problem). And it puts out a lot of pollution:
A single, standard heavy-duty diesel truck with a 425 horsepower, operated the standard 306 days a year, idling during legally required rest breaks and stopping for other reasons for 30 minutes per day produces 55,833 lbs. of emissions annually-solely from idling. These emissions include: 54,240 lbs. of carbon dioxide, 1,047 lbs. of nitrogen oxides, 396 lbs. of carbon monoxide, 110 lbs. of volatile organic compounds and 40 lbs. of particulate matter.
A company called IdleAire has an interesting solution. They provide an umbilical with plug-in power, Internet, phone, and TV services at truck stops, letting truckers use their various appliances, get online, stay warm/cool, etc., without having to idle their engines. It saves fuel — about 1.0 – 1.1 gallons of diesel an hour per truck — and eliminates engine noise and pollution. The power comes from the grid, so it’s not pollution-free, but IdleAire estimates that there’s an average net emissions reduction of 83%.
via Brewed Fresh Daily.