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Chevrolet’s IdleAir Aims at Reducing Truck Carbon Emissions

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A Modern Kenworth Long-Haul Tractor - More Advanced than Ever, but Still Wastes Fuel Idling
A Modern Kenworth Long-Haul Tractor – More Advanced than Ever, but Still Wastes Fuel Idling

IdleAir is a new system that Chevrolet is installing at truck stops nationwide, part of their initiative to cut eight million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions from various industrial and commercial sectors, including truck drivers. When truckers stop for a break, they can pull into the designated IdelAir spot, which has a stand and a multipurpose air duct and electrical system. IdleAir supplies climate control, as well as electrical, cable, and internet connections.

Far from being the smoke-belching diesels of yesteryear, today’s fleet of diesel trucks are some of the most sophisticated vehicles on the road, including GPS navigation and satellite tracking systems. Truck drivers clock millions of miles, and the engines are more efficient than ever, but when truckers stop to rest, their trucks offer most of the comforts of home, including internet connection, satellite television, microwaves, heating and air conditioning.

The only problem is that in order to use these conveniences, they have to leave the engine idling, which burns up to a gallon per hour, generating electricity, running the air conditioning compressor, or providing heat. If a trucker stops for an overnight rest, it could use up to ten gallons of fuel. Multiply this by hundreds of thousands of long-haul trucks and we can see the problem. Idling engines move no loads, but emits tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

We could put up “No Idling” signs, but we can’t leave these truckers out in the cold. Using the new IdleAir system, truckers can still rest comfortably and make use of television, laptop, or microwave, but don’t have to leave the engine idling to do so. IdleAir is partially solar powered, and grid power used to run the system tends to be much cleaner than diesel, reducing carbon dioxide emissions. Since it is mainly used during off-peak hours, costs are minimized.

“IdleAir enables drivers to enjoy a better environment inside and outside of the cabin, without… idling,” said IdleAir CEO Ethan Garber. “By expanding access to this option throughout America, communities experience cleaner air, reduced noise pollution.” IdleAir receives some of its funding as part of Chevrolet’s carbon reduction initiative.

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