Idling Reduction Technology

Technology Options

EPA estimates that one heavy-duty truck could save as much as 1,900 galloExhaust from a truck idlingns of fuel each year simply by eliminating unnecessary idling. With diesel fuel costing $4.70 per gallon on average (July 2008), total savings could add up to $8,930 per year! Fortunately, this sector benefits from a wide variety of technological solutions.  By using the devices described below, the driver can have access to the same amenities as an idling truck with the added benefit of reducing pollution and fuel consumption. These idling alternatives are divided into two categories: on-board and on-site. 

On-board Options 
On-board options enable the driver to be comfortable in the cab without operating the main engine.  These devices are advantageous because they can be used nearly anywhere.   Several types of on-board technologies are available:

  • Automatic Shut-Down Device: enables programming the engine to turn on and off automatically after a predetermined time limit or at a certain temperature setting.  
  • Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) or Generator: a second, smaller engine which provides a power supply for a wide range of driver needs, including climate control and electrical power for computers or other equipment, while allowing the main engine to be turned off. 
  • Integrated Battery or Alternative Powered Device: provides a stored energy source for heating and/or cooling. This does not produce any emissions and lasts for the duration of the battery charge. The battery may have the capability of being recharged by the vehicle’s main engine during normal operation.
  • Fuel Operated Heater: commonly known as bunk heaters, circulates heated coolant to the vehicle's regular heater system, which allows the sleeper cab to be heated without idling the main engine.
  • Thermal Storage System: also known as evaporative coolers, stores energy in cold storage as the truck is driven. When the engine is turned off, it provides air conditioning.

On-site Options 
On-site options also enable driver comfort without running the main engine. Electrified Truck Stops (ETS) are specific rest areas that provide power to trucks using existing infrastructure. There are two ways the facility can supply power to vehicles:

  • Single Unit Electrified Parking Space (EPS): also known as “Full Service” systems, provides power and climate control through a window unit that supplies processed air to the cab. The window unit can also offer other commodities such as internet access and television.
  • Dual Unit EPS: provides power by remote power hookups for trucks that have shorepower capabilities. This option requires that heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) units for climate control be installed on individual trucks.  

The EPA maintains a list of verified idle-reduction technology through the National Clean Diesel Campaign.  Additional product information and descriptions are available through the EPA's SmartWay Transport Program. 

Map of North Texas Electrified Truck Stops

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Check the availability of these sites on the U.S. Department of Energy's Truck Stop Electrification Locator.