SALT LAKE CITY — State and federal grants will help 15 trucking businesses in Utah install devices meant to reduce idling and cut pollution.
The equipment provides auxiliary power for sleeper cab heating and air conditioning. They use about one-tenth of the diesel fuel burned by idling trucks.
The project will be funded by the Utah Clean Trucking Initiative, which is getting more than $350,000 from the Environmental Protection Agency and more than $235,000 from the Utah Department of Environmental Quality.
The devices will reduce emissions by 70 percent for trucks that have them, said Amanda Smith, DEQ’s executive director. That should provide some relief from harmful particulate pollution that makes it difficult for some people to breathe during the winter, she said.
“This initiative will go a long way to improving our air quality along the Wasatch Front,” Smith said in a statement.
Trucks in Utah log more than 3.4 million miles along the Wasatch Front, according to Gov. Gary Herbert. The more devices are installed, the more pollution might be reduced, he said.
The 3-by-4-foot units mount on truck frame rails and power the trucks’ air conditioning systems, keep batteries charged and funnel engine heat to keep cabs comfortable.
“You don’t think about comfort until you don’t have it,” said Jon Cope, president of Salt Lake City-based Marco Transport. “These devices are good for drivers, and they save money.”
Engines that idle for a long time cost the trucking industry more than $2.5 billion a year in fuel and engine repairs, and release 11 million tons of carbon dioxide into the air, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
The Utah initiative is expected to also conserve nearly 900,000 gallons of diesel fuel, according to David Creer, executive director of the Utah Trucking Association.
More than 30 states have laws to ban excessive idling. The Salt Lake City-County Board of Health has regulations limiting diesel truck idling to 15 minutes or less, unless power is needed for sleeper cabs.
Kevin Jones of The Trucker staff can be reached for comment at email@example.com.
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