Conventional Cars IdleAir Program Cuts Emissions

Published on February 2nd, 2013 | by Jo Borrás


Chevy's IdleAir Program Helps Truckers Cut Emissions (w/ video)

February 2nd, 2013 by  

IdleAir Program Cuts Emissions

Big rig trucks rule America’s highways, and their big diesel engines – and their accompanying smoke stacks – are some of the biggest polluters in the nation. The modern semi engine is significantly cleaner than the last generations’ rigs, for sure, but the sheer volume of trucks and the extreme miles they cover annually still makes them an issue … especially when they’re idling at truck stops.

Idling? Truck stops?

For those of you who don’t fancy the Flying J to be one of America’s greatest bastions of cultural significance, let me explain: truckers tend to idle their engines at stops for extended periods to run air conditioners, powers their TVs and laptops, or to microwave food. Chevrolet’s new IdleAir program hopes to allow them to do all this without emitting the carbon dioxide emissions that come from engine idling.

When a driver subscribes to the IdleAir service, s/he can pull into a specially-marked IdleAir space and install a plastic window adapter that connect the cab to a heating and cooling air vent, TV, power outlets, internet and other conveniences. The truck engine can then be turned off, saving fuel, reducing emissions and keeping power on to the big rig’s amenities.

Chevy says the IdleAir system supports various energy efficiency and conservation initiatives, and could help to prevent the release of some 8 million metric tons of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere in a year.

You can get a better sense of it in the video, below …

… and you can check out the full Chevy press release, here.


DETROIT – Chevrolet is supporting a project to help long-haul truckers avoid idling during rest breaks at truck stops through a technology that maintains a comfortable cabin temperature and powers a TV, laptop or microwave without emitting the carbon dioxide emissions that come from engine idling.

The IdleAir project is one of many innovative carbon-reduction projects across America where Chevrolet is making an impact on local communities, jobs and the environment. The brand is supporting various energy efficiency, renewable energy and conservation initiatives in its goal to prevent up to 8 million metric tons of carbon dioxide from entering the earth’s atmosphere. To date, it has secured commitments for nearly 7 million metric tons.

With Chevrolet’s help, IdleAir can further expand availability of its engine-idling alternative. With the service, a driver pulls into an IdleAir space and installs a reusable plastic window adapter that accepts a unit connecting his or her cab to a heating and cooling air vent, TV, power outlets, internet and other conveniences. The truck engine can then be turned off, saving fuel, reducing emissions and keeping power on to the big rig’s amenities.

“IdleAir enables drivers to enjoy a better environment inside and outside of the cabin, without the noise, vibration, and exhaust fumes from idling,” said IdleAir CEO Ethan Garber. “By expanding access to this option throughout America, communities experience cleaner air, reduced noise pollution, local job creation, and an increased tax base for the local economy.”

IdleAir users save a gallon of diesel fuel per truck per hour. Drivers typically rest at night, so IdleAir uses off-peak power and has begun installing solar panels on some of its overhead trusses to provide solar-powered electricity.

“Chevrolet’s significant investment is driving innovation and encouraging unique ways for the country to sustain cleaner energy and, ultimately, reduce the effects of climate change,” said Mark Kenber, CEO of The Climate Group.

Chevrolet was the largest corporate buyer of voluntary carbon reduction credits in the United States by volume for 2011 as tracked by Forest Trends’ Ecosystem Marketplace, a nonprofit source of environmental news and data.

“If we want to leave the world a better place, we need to change the way we do things,” said David Tulauskas, GM sustainability director and manager of the Chevrolet carbon-reduction initiative. “Climate change, population growth, urbanization and other issues require our industry to transform itself. We are going beyond our traditional scope of responsibility – building efficient vehicles – into these community-based carbon-reduction projects to help demonstrate our commitment.”

Source: Chevrolet.

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About the Author

I've been involved in motorsports and tuning since 1997, and write for a number of blogs in the Important Media network. You can find me on Twitter, Google+, or at my shop in Palatine, IL.

  • Bruce Miller

    Fully computerized electric bullet trains soon enough will replace much trucking with diesels. Next steps will be local battery electric light deliveries from terminals to customers – all to save money, all from Chinese technologies. Oil intensive jet flights also targeted.

  • http://Gas2.0 Alex

    A fiend who has been a trucker for the bast several years has seen these truck stops that offer these options, has siad that most did not work due to user abuse or inseficient up keep. He questioned the truck stop about all the inoperable window units. One of the maintnence workers said that ith all the repairs they had to do the cost of up keep was more than what they could charge for the use of them. It just didn’t make financial sence. In comparison look at your local laundrimats. How many times have you gone one that have been open for a number of years, and found all the machines working proprly.
    When you put anything out for the public to use, it has to be built like a tank or it will not hold up. But to make something like that it will cost major $$$$, there for the cost of idleing a truck is cheaper than paying for a windo unit. I have seen a lot of trucks adding on their own portable generators that will power the AC and accessories needed for those idle times.
    It makes more sence to do this than to outfit every truckstop with window ACs. It would be bad for the truck stop not only for the cost of instaling one but also the extra space needed where the extra truck would be parked. Also I believe it would be posible to have a battery pack on board that could power the necessary components for the duration of the down time, and recharge when driving.

    • joborras

      All of that makes sense … I think the point, though, is to help existing trucks, rather than force millions of truckers into a rebuy or retrofit.

  • Mark

    In alberta they idle truck engines 24 hours a day. If you turn it off in -30C weather it is not going to start again… what is needed is better truck teck.
    A Hybrid truck engine is the answer.

    • joborras

      That is a good point. Maybe they could power the glow plug at rest, also?

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