Medium-duty: Western Products launches new & improved website
Information from the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) regarding truck idling laws recently came across my desk, and I thought it might be a good time for a reminder about the problems excessive diesel engine idling can cause.
ATRI continues to update and maintain a listing of state and local idling regulations on its website. The listing is provided in two forms: an online compendium which provides detailed information and internet links to each of the 60 state and local regulations which have been identified, and a cab card that provides a consolidated listing of the state and local limits. The cab card is designed to be downloaded and carried in the glove box of a truck.
ATRI stated that San Antonio joins the growing number of Texas cities and counties that have implemented a five-minute idling limit. Exemptions include hours-of-service compliance beyond two miles of facilities with available external heat or air connections and trucks with Certified Clean Idle engines. The new limit went into effect on Jan. 1 with fines up to $500.
In addition, Ann Arbor, Mich., will implement a new five-minute limit beginning on July 1. Exemptions will be provided for rest or sleep breaks beyond 25 miles of available truck stop electrification or shore power or when temperatures are less than 32° F or greater than 85° F and a temperature-controlled area is not accessible. Violations may result in a minimum fine of $500.
ATRI continues to monitor the development of idling regulations across the country and provides the compendium and cab card as a free service to help trucking companies and truck drivers comply with the myriad of state and local idling regulations.
Reducing diesel exhaust
Diesel exhaust affects everyone, but people with existing heart or lung disease, asthma or other respiratory problems are most sensitive to the small particles in diesel exhaust. Fortunately, new emission standards and new technology are helping to ensure that the cleaner diesel engines of the future will dramatically reduce these health risks. There are several things that fleets can do now to save money and reduce pollution, specifically; find ways to reduce idling—you not only help the environment, but also you can save money on the fuel it wastes. A typical truck burns approximately 1 gal. of diesel fuel for each hour it idles. If this truck idles for six hours per day and operates 300 days a year, it would consume 1,800 gallons of fuel per year. By simply reducing idling, those costs could be controlled and/or eliminated.
In addition, idling causes twice the wear on internal parts compared to driving at regular speeds. According to the American Trucking Associations, such wear can increase maintenance costs by almost $2,000 per year and shorten the life of the engine.
Steps you can take
- Turn off your engine when the vehicle is not in motion. (Follow manufacturers’ recommendations for cool-down—usually three to five minutes after full load operation).
- Follow manufacturers recommendations for minimum warm-up time—usually three to five minutes depending on the vehicle.
- Use electric engine heaters (such as block heaters) to minimize idling time during warm-up, especially in cold weather.
- Install a small generator or auxiliary power unit specifically designed for a truck that provides heat, air conditioning, and/or electrical power while the vehicle is not in motion.
These devices are a better, more efficient alternative to idling as they use substantially less fuel and emit less pollution. Depending on the amount of time spent idling each year, the payback on these devices can range from one to two years. When buying new equipment, purchase engines already equipped with devices that minimize idling and warm-up time automatically. Remember to follow anti-idling laws and guidelines in your state and the states within which you do business.