Large truck -- Anti-idling laws arrive in PA

Discussion in 'Commerical Transportation' started by xcel, Feb 9, 2009.

  1. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    New diesel vehicle idling restrictions will promote cleaner air and reduce fuel consumption.

    [xfloat=right][/xfloat]Wayne Gerdes – CleanMPG – Feb. 9, 2009

    The Peterbilt 386 Class 8 HD Diesel Hybrid idles for only 5-minutes per hour which boosts the Li-Ion battery SoC back up to run A/C or heat while the driver is asleep.

    Most Heavy-Duty Diesel Vehicles Can Idle Engines for Only 5 Minutes per Hour.

    HARRISBURG, Pa. -- Pennsylvanians vulnerable to air pollution will breathe easier thanks to a new measure taking effect today that limits engine idling by heavy-duty diesel vehicles.

    Pennsylvania Governor Edward G. Rendell signed the Diesel-Powered Motor Vehicle Idling Act (Act 124) on Oct. 9. The law restricts heavy-duty diesel vehicles from idling more than five minutes per hour.

    Truck and bus drivers often idle their engines during rest periods to heat or cool their sleeper compartment, to keep the engine warm during cold weather, and to provide electrical power for their appliances.

    Acting Environmental Protection Secretary John Hanger added that the new restrictions will save the owners of these vehicles billions of dollars a year while also reducing Pennsylvania's dependence on foreign oil.

    "Idling of these heavy-duty engines produces large quantities of dangerous air pollutants that can be particularly harmful to young children, the elderly and people with respiratory problems, such as asthma, emphysema and bronchitis," said Hanger. "Across the nation, these vehicles consume 1 billion gallons of fuel annually by idling their engines. This new law will protect the health of our citizens, reduce our reliance on imported oil, and drive the adoption of new technologies to meet our nation's transportation needs."

    Each year, heavy-duty trucks in Pennsylvania burning diesel fuel while idling emit about 3,200 tons of nitrogen oxides, a precursor of smog and ground-level ozone; 210,000 tons of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas linked to climate change; and 65 tons of fine particulate matter.

    Act 124 applies to diesel-powered motor vehicles engaged in commerce with a gross weight of 10,001 pounds or more that are not specifically exempted. Most trucks and buses are subject to the act, though farm-related equipment and vehicles are exempt.

    Trucks with sleeper berths are exempted during times of low and high temperatures until May 1, 2010, providing a reasonable amount of time for truckers to make alternative arrangements for sleeping, such as using an electrified truck-stop parking space or buying equipment that provides power without idling.

    "There are affordable alternatives to idling, and I encourage all vehicle operators to take advantage of them to help Pennsylvanians breather easier and to save themselves money, too," Hanger said. "At current prices, drivers are spending $2.4 billion a year nationally on fuel just for idling. In May, when diesel prices hit record highs, that figure would have been almost $5 billion."

    The simplest way to reduce idling is to turn off the vehicle. Modern diesel engines do not require long warm-up or cool-down periods or constant idling in order to operate efficiently. The most common alternatives to idling are auxiliary power systems and stationary idle reduction technologies.

    Auxiliary power systems are devices installed on vehicles to provide electric power. Stationary idle reduction technology provides some type of plug-in system at locations where vehicles park.

    The DEP's Small Business Advantage Grant program has invested more than $1 million on top of the nearly $2 million truck owners and operators have spent to purchase 238 auxiliary power systems.

    Other investments by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, in conjunction with those by private enterprises, have made 11 truck-stop electrification systems available across the state. For an online map of system locations, visit Idleaire and click on "Locations."
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 9, 2009
  2. JimboK

    JimboK One owner, low mileage

    How do they define "heavy-duty diesel vehicles?" If the definition includes vehicles the size of fire apparatus and ambulances, I hope there is an exemption for emergency operations. These vehicles must keep running at emergency scenes for operational and safety reasons.
  3. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi Jim:

    ___This is a Class 8 Vehicle mandate. These are Over the Road tractors, not Ambulances and Support vehicles.

    ___Good Luck

  4. Right Lane Cruiser

    Right Lane Cruiser Penguin of Notagascar

    This is cool! I wonder how big the battery is?
  5. jkp1187

    jkp1187 Well-Known Member

    An interesting idea, but I wonder how Fast Eddie intends to enforce this law?
  6. Blackbelt

    Blackbelt Well-Known Member

    I am sure he will have the PA ticket writing brigade, IE the PA State police, enforcing this law.
  7. jkp1187

    jkp1187 Well-Known Member

    Yes, but are PSP troopers, upon spotting a truck idling, going to pull over and fire up a stopwatch? Is he going to permanently assign a PSP trooper to each rest area along the Turnpike and I-80 to time truckers idling?

    This isn't a bad idea, suggesting that trucks idle no more than 5 minutes, but this does not seem to me to be a worthwhile use of PSP resources. And if there's no enforcement, it's just - pardon the pun - a lot of hot air.
  8. msirach

    msirach Well-Known Member

    At least it's a start. It is good to see any step in this direction.
  9. jkp1187

    jkp1187 Well-Known Member

    I'd prefer to have fewer laws passed just because people think they sound good, and more thought to how they're actually going to work out in the real world.
  10. Blackbelt

    Blackbelt Well-Known Member

    No, if they see a truck idling they will just automatically give them a ticket. That is what the PSP troopers do. They raise revenue by writing tickets. They are uncle Eddies little tax collecting agency. If it sounds like i have no respect for the PSP, well, it's because i have no respect for the PSP. When they stop setting up radar ambushes on the turnpike and the interstates, and start actually catching REAL criminals, then i might have some respect for them.
    Disclaimer: I have never received any type of ticket from the State police.
  11. Shiba3420

    Shiba3420 Well-Known Member

    Enforced or not, just the fact the law exists will encourage companies to sell/buy trucks/tech capable of following the rules. However if they are going to have rules like this, the state should also provide the necessary plug-in tech in tech at the truck rest stops. It doesn't have to be free, but it should have to be there.
  12. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi Jonathan:

    ___Both PA and NY are in the process of electrifying many of the truck stops for that exact reason.

    ___The last time I looked up a Wal-Mart trucking story, every single one of their long haulers is now equipped with an aux power unit to keep the cab cool or warm plus provide electricity within the cab while the big diesel is shut down until really needed.

    ___Good Luck

  13. phoebeisis

    phoebeisis Well-Known Member

    I suspect that Shiba3420 is dead on. Tractors are very, very expensive, so adding an efficient 3000 watt generator with wiring harness won't increase the cost that much.I would guess it would cost maybe $1200-$1500 to put this in a new truck-but more trying to retrofit them to an older vehicle.

    I spend a fair amount of time sleeping(in a Suburban) at rest stops on Hy 287 about 150 miles East of Amarillo.Texas has very nice rest stops, so they are heavily used by trucks. There have been 25+ trucks idling there every time-( at least 12 times) we've stopped. The trucks are on enforced breaks, so they are there for 8 hours plus. I've read that they use slightly over 1 gallon per hour or over $20/day at $2.50/gal or $40/day at $5/gal. In two years they would pay back the initial $1200 cost(ignoring extra fuel used to haul the extra 100 lbs of generator).Since trucks tend to do mainly hy driving at steady speed, the extra 100 lbs(with no added aero drag) isn't very important. Not sure how important the 100 lbs lower load capacity is, but probably not too important, since many cargos are bulky, but not too dense.

    Still, I'm guessing the truckers will come out ahead on TCO in 3 years. They will put less wear on those extremely expensive diesels-that HAS TO BE A BIG PLUS.

    It is probably a good law-even if it isn't enforced. Lower fuel used, and hours of use on their motor will benefit the truckers.

    PS- 25 Trucks idling makes a heck of a racket, and a lot of stench even with modern diesels they don't smell good.
  14. kngkeith

    kngkeith Well-Known Member

    Hi Charlie-

    Cummins Comfortguard has a ROI calculator. I plugged in my numbers for the last full year I ran OTR. Payback time at $2.20 gal is 63 years 3 months 2 days. APU's cost about $7000-$9500 installed. They use diesel motors that are emissions compliant, and are COSTLY. Fleets need to install these types of units because they need ease of use. Owner operators could get away with a small gas generator and a/c unit for under a grand, if they don't mind the hassle of carrying gas.

    The APU's weigh about 400 lbs, including the unit and the HVAC components. Most freight is still weight sensitive. As crazy as it sounds, 400 lbs is significant enough to be a nuisance though won't kill an operation.

    I won't argue against these laws. I'm mostly frustrated with the drivers who idle their equipment no matter the temperature, which help promote these laws. I carried a camping propane heater for heat and don't use A/C. Because I only spent 50-80 nights on the road, and would only need heat less that half that time an APU would not make sense. A lot of trucks are run the same way, they will have to bite the bullet knowing they probably won't get ROI. This is one of many reasons I don't run OTR regularly.

    I wouldn't hold out hope for electrified parking spaces. There is a woeful shortage of regular parking spaces, with no substantial relief on the horizon.

  15. phoebeisis

    phoebeisis Well-Known Member

    $9000-wow-they-the builders charge boat type money for those generators. I was figuring about 2X the cost of a 5000 watt Honda motored(but not honda) portable generator-$1200.
    I knew little Diesels were expensive, but I didn't figure $9000- or 400 lbs.
    I could see how 400lbs would make a difference-I was guessing about 100 lbs. My 3700 watt generator($400) is about 120 lbs with wheels etc.
    I considered hauling a little window unit-5000 500 watts and my generator on my Suburban carrier so I didn't have to idle all night(6 hours) while sleeping.In the summer TX is extremely hot-it was 90 degrees at midnight my last trip, so no way around AC. Besides, it is too noisy(25 trucks!) to sleep with the windows open!
    I'm thinking about using some sort of "cold mattress" pumping iced waste thru an air mattress for the next trip. I hate to use a 250 hp motor just to AC about 130 cubic feet.

    $9000 and 400 lbs certainly puts a different spin on it. In light of that the hybrid system with the lithium batteries that are charged in just 5 minutes looks pretty good!

  16. kngkeith

    kngkeith Well-Known Member

    Yeah, I think they need to make them robust enough for riding on a truck chassis, and the high hours they'll put on. Some are watercooled too.
    The drivers idling their trucks even on cool nights drive me nuts. The ironic thing is they are doing it for noise control:eyebrow: as the noise inside blocks outside noises.

  17. Right Lane Cruiser

    Right Lane Cruiser Penguin of Notagascar

    The really sad part is that a small, dormitory type clip fan will accomplish exactly the same thing. :(
  18. Shiba3420

    Shiba3420 Well-Known Member

    Even better was a device called a "sleep machine" which is nothing but a fan in a plastic box. There is some adjustability of the holes in the box which change the pitch and volume. They cost about $30, but ran on AC, so not the best option....I would think a DC version of the same thing or even a white noise recording playing back on a radio/ipod would be about as effective.

    Xcel, when you said...
    Are you talking about the gas-station truck stops or the state owned "parking lots" for truckers? I know a lot of the gas-station types are offering these things with power/air-conditioning/heating/tv/phone. They make a profit on truckers using them, and truckers still save money using them verse idleing their trucks. If you are talking about the state lots, how much is being charged for truckers to use them for the night?
  19. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi Jonatahn:

    ___The Truckstops per the idleaire link.

    ___Good Luck


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