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Idling Study To Come

IT'S COMMON KNOWLEDGE that truck idling creates emissions that are harmful to the environment. And now the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Washington, D.C., wants to determine by how much.

Shortly after California regulators voted to ban unnecessary diesel truck idling this year, the EPA has contributed $50,000 to an interagency study of truck drivers' exposure to air pollutants released while they are idling their vehicles.

The Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Oak Ridge, Tenn., and the University of Tennessee will conduct the study, which the EPA says will be complete by spring 2005. For information, visit www.epa.gov/smsartway/idling.htm.

In the meantime, the EPA is seeking comments on a set of proposed codes and standards for electric hook-ups at truck stops that would reduce drivers' need for idling.

The Department of Transportation (DOT) mandates truckers rest after driving long periods. Oftentimes, drivers will idle their engines at rest stops during this period to continue powering air conditioning or heating systems, and to run on-board appliances.

In recent years, truck stop electrification (TSE) technology has begun allowing drivers to use hook-ups to power vehicle systems and appliances without idling. The EPA wants to know that if it assists in TSE deployment to reduce emissions and conserve fuel, whether “the interface the truck and the stationary infrastructure will … be compatible across the country.”

The EPA is accepting comments on the proposed standards until Oct. 9. For more information, visit www.epa.gov/smartway and click “Newsroom.”