If you’ve ever been on a road trip, you’ve probably seen this sight at a rest stop: one, or many big rig trucks, just…idling. Not going anywhere. What is this, like a computer on “sleep,” ready to go? No. The answer may surprise you. At least in the US, truck drivers are required to rest 10 hours for every 11 driven. A reasonable thing, but this often necessitates them sleeping in their cabins. And that requires power for the heating or cooling, and other comforts of “home” on the road. Power that comes from a running truck.
But that has consequences. On the environment, on the driver, and on the vehicle. Multiply that by the number of truckers on the road at any given time, and the potential impact is enormous. And it doesn’t have to be that way. IdleAire has created a device that alleviates the need for idling, while retaining all that truckers are accustomed to having while at rest. And it doesn’t require retrofitting the vehicle, beyond a $10 window adapter, a price point apparently unique for the industry.
The IdleAire service can actually add to the quality of life of the trucker, allowing them to have internet, phone, and television in their cab, better connecting them with the world, minus the engine noise and fumes, encouraging a better sleep. All this will likely reduce turnover, saving fleets both fuel and recruitment cost, saving (one would hope) on shipping costs for companies.
Doing something I wish my car did, the air conditioning is filtered, and exposed to UV light to kill the viruses, bacteria and spores that typically pollute indoor environments. This I imagine would lower the number of sick days.
IdleAire wisely addresses the travel centers that service drivers by mentioning that their service
…keeps travel centers financially whole by providing income that exceeds any lost fuel sales.
which would seem to allay fear they may have, and increase adoption.
For those of us who live near where trucks congregate, this will reduce noise and air pollution, and make the streets safer with more aware, functional drivers. In regards to fuel use, it saves a gallon of gas per hour. Multiply that by 10 hours a day, and the number of truckers on the road, and you’ve got something huge.
Readers: What other ways do you see to make trucking, and shipping in general, more sustainable, for all involved?
Paul Smith is a sustainable business innovator, the founder of GreenSmith Consulting, and has an MBA in Sustainable Management from Presidio School of Management in San Francisco. His overarching talent is “bottom lining” complex ideas, in a way that is understandable and accessible to a variety of audiences, internal and external to a company.