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Vehicle Technologies Office: National Idling Reduction Network News

The National Idling Reduction Network brings together trucking and transit companies; railroads; ports; equipment manufacturers; Federal, state, and local government agencies (including regulators); nonprofit organizations; and national research laboratories to identify consistent, workable solutions to heavy-vehicle idling for the entire United States. Below is the most recent issue; the archives are available on the Archives page.


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April 2015 National Idling Reduction Network News: From a Guest Editor

Illustration showing a heavy-duty truck, a ship, a dump truck, a transit bus, and a locomotive.

It's Bigger Than Big Trucks

In the 1980s, DOE’s Argonne National Laboratory started looking at the fuel wasted by idling trucks. It wasn’t until 1998, however, that we made a serious effort to quantify it. An out-of-the-box-thinking Argonne analyst found a groundbreaking DOE sponsor who wanted to know the amount of fuel wasted and the emissions created by the overnight idling of long-haul trucks. Argonne’s first study estimated these impacts, with surprising results: almost 1 billion gallons of fuel wasted annually. By the time we convened the National Idling Reduction Planning Conference in 2004, we had expanded our scope to include other heavy vehicles such as buses and locomotives. With the passage of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, the U.S. DOE Clean Cities program added idling reduction to its portfolio.

Since then, we’ve continued to expand our efforts. In the course of our travels, we noticed trucks of all sizes idling at various locations as part of their standard duty cycles. We were surprised to find that the fuel wasted during workday idling is more than double that wasted overnight. Although most commercial trucks idle fewer hours than overnight sleeper trucks, the total population of commercial trucks is far greater. While some workday idling supplies power needed to perform the trucks’ function, alternative power sources are now being developed. Similarly, just because emergency vehicles are exempt from idling regulations doesn’t mean they can’t reduce the fuel they waste from idling. With all of these vehicles, it’s important to note that our goal is to reduce vehicle idling and associated costs without compromising driver comfort or the vehicle’s ability to perform its work functions.

But our work isn’t limited to heavy-duty or commercial vehicles. The population of passenger cars is even greater than that of commercial trucks, so even a few minutes of idling per day means that total passenger car idling wastes as much fuel as truck idling. Therefore, passenger car idling is also now part of the DOE idling-reduction portfolio.

So, over the years, our scope has broadened from the overnight idling of 80,000-lb GVW long-haul trucks to include vehicles down to the size of my Prius C. Off-road vehicles and ships are in our sights as well.

What have we accomplished over these past 15 years? We’ve published technical reports, papers, and fact sheets, given presentations, exhibited posters, created IdleBox and IdleBase to educate stakeholders, and worked with the National Park Service and others to reduce unnecessary idling and associated emissions.

Where do we go from here? We’d be interested in your thoughts about studies to expand our knowledge of idling reduction or niches that could use special attention.

Dr. Linda Gaines
Transportation Systems Analyst
Argonne National Laboratory


Terry M. Levinson, Editor
Energetics Incorporated

Patricia Weikersheimer, Writer
Argonne National Laboratory


Solicitations for Funding and Awards

Program (with link to website) — Organization — Funding Amount — Due Date (Information new since last month in boldface.)

Deadline in Chronological Order


First Come, First Served


Rolling Deadline Until Funds Are Awarded



California Toughens GHG Emission Targets

California Governor Jerry Brown has issued an Executive Order to establish a state greenhouse gas reduction (GHG) target of 40% below 1990 levels by 2030. This new emission-reduction target will better put the state on track to reaching the larger goal of reducing emissions to 80% under 1990 levels by 2050. To read Executive Order B-30-15, please go to the California Governor’s website.


Awards and Recognition

Awardee — Source of Award — Purpose of Award — Award Amount

  • City of Los Angeles Harbor Department — U.S. EPA — Replacement of an older diesel cargo crane with a zero-emission, all-electric crane — $1.3 million.

  • Port of Houston Authority — U.S. EPA — Replacement of 14 older drayage trucks, including the installation of GPS units to provide data on idling and other operations — $899,960

  • River Valley Local Schools (Marion County, Ohio) — Ohio EPA — Installation of emission-control equipment on 3 school buses and idle reduction equipment on 17 school buses — $51,809.

  • Swinomish Indian Tribal Community (Puget Sound, Washington) — U.S. EPA — Replacement of 12 older marine diesel engines with new, low-emission diesel engines as well as the installation of shore-power pedestals at fishing docks to allow engines to be shut down during loading and unloading — $792,000.


Reports and Other Resources of Interest

  • Annual Energy Outlook 2015 (U.S. Energy Information Administration)

  • APUs: Money-Saver or Pricey Indulgence? (

  • Big Growth Predicted for Start/Stop Engine Systems (Fleet Owner)

  • Stop-Start Vehicles: Onboard Energy Storage, Lead-Acid Batteries, Lithium Ion Batteries, and Ultracapacitors: Global Market Analysis and Forecasts (Navigant Research) Link provides abstract/summary and ordering information


Upcoming Meetings and Events

Name of meeting [with Link to Website] Date (Location) (Information new since last month in boldface.)


Manufacturers' News

NITE + Solar Power

Bergstrom now offers a solar-power energy solution paired with its No-Idle Thermal Environment (NITE) system. The eNow solar-power system harvests solar energy and transfers it as electrical energy to the on-board battery system, enabling the battery system to run the electrical components even longer. The solar-energy system charges even when the truck is not in use. For more information, please go to the Bergstrom website.


Dometic Introduces the Blizzard Turbo

Dometic Group has launched its high-BTU air conditioner designed to operate without running a truck’s engine, the Blizzard Turbo. Providing 7,000 BTUs of cooling, the air conditioner can be powered by batteries, generator, or shore power. The split system puts the condenser unit on the outside of the truck with the quieter evaporator unit blowing cool air into the cab. For more information about the Blizzard Turbo, please go to the Dometic website.


Electrified Parking Spaces

The New IdleAir Celebrates Five Years in Business

Convoy Solutions recently celebrated its fifth anniversary operating as IdleAir. In 2010, it acquired the bankrupt IdleAire, changed the name to IdleAir, and pursued a more focused business model. The company currently has installations at more than 40 truck stops and fleet terminals and recently broke ground on an installation in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico.

According to a recent IdleAir press release, the company has absorbed most of the assets and operations of American Idle Reduction (AIR) and is working to allow AIR’s core locations to accept IdleAir member-card and fleet-card traffic. IdleAir is also exploring the possibility of long-term redevelopment of brownfields and other underused properties in congested trucking corridors to create safe, TSE-equipped parking spaces. Please see the IdleAir website for more information about recent developments.


Education, Outreach, and Campaigns

Banks of Utah Says, "Stop Idling. Start $aving."

The Bank of Utah, a locally owned, 13-branch bank headquartered in Odgen, Utah, is raising awareness about the consequences of vehicle idling at drive-throughs. Its “Stop Idling. Start $aving.” message comes directly from IdleBox, U.S. DOE’s Clean Cities’ outreach toolkit. To see a video about the bank’s initiative, please go to


Other News of Interest

Quadrennial Energy Review Reinforces Value of DERA Funding

The Obama Administration released the first installment of the first-ever Quadrennial Energy Review, which examines ways to modernize the nation’s energy infrastructure for increased economic competitiveness, energy security, and environmental responsibility. Among the report’s recommendations is the provision of funding to support diesel emissions reduction. “To protect workers and nearby communities through further reductions in diesel particulate matter emissions from ports and rail yards, the Administration proposed and Congress should provide funding for the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act [DERA] and other related programs.” The White House’s Press Office website provides more information.