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DEP Awards Education Grants For New Anti-Diesel Idling Law
The Department of Environmental Protection this week awarded grants to three regional air quality organizations to help the trucking industry comply with Pennsylvania’s anti-idling law, which took effect on February 6.
 
The outreach assistance grants will be used to educate heavy-duty diesel vehicle operators, commercial vehicle location operators and local officials on the environmental and economic effects of unnecessary idling and the availability of idling reduction technology.
 
“These grants will fund education for diesel vehicle operators and related businesses in those areas of southeastern, south-central and southwestern Pennsylvania where excessive diesel idling has created air pollution that is particularly harmful to young children, the elderly and people with respiratory problems,” said Acting DEP Secretary John Hanger. “In addition to improving air quality in our industrial corridors, reduced idling will significantly lower fuel consumption and stimulate innovation and investment in anti-idling technologies.”
 
The Diesel-Powered Motor Vehicle Idling Act restricts heavy-duty diesel vehicles from idling more than five minutes in any continuous 60-minute period. Truck and bus drivers often idle their engines during rest periods to heat or cool their sleeper compartment, to keep the engine warm during cold weather, and to provide electrical power for their appliances.
 
The three organizations receiving diesel idling outreach grants are: Clean Air Board of Central Pennsylvania, Carlisle: $28,000; Clean Air Council, Philadelphia: $26,000; and Group Against Smog and Pollution, Pittsburgh: $36,000.
 
Acting Secretary Hanger added that the new idling restrictions will save the owners of these vehicles billions of dollars each year in fuel costs while reducing America’s dependence on foreign sources of oil.
 
“At a time when business owners are struggling to contain operational costs, heavy-duty diesel vehicles nationwide will waste nearly $2.4 billion worth of fuel this year while idling, and that number would double if fuel costs approach the record levels seen in 2008,” Acting Secretary Hanger said. “The grants announced today will help to communicate these benefits and cost savings to the operators of diesel vehicles through visual messages. These grants can also fund equipment fairs and idling workshops.”
 
Modern diesel engines do not require long warm-up or cool-down periods or constant idling in order to operate efficiently. Common alternatives to idling when heating, air conditioning or power is needed are auxiliary power systems and stationary idle reduction technologies. Auxiliary power systems are devices installed on vehicles to provide electric power. Stationary idle reduction technology provides some type of plug-in system at locations where vehicles park.
 
The DEP’s Small Business Advantage Grant program has assisted small trucking operations with more than $1 million in matching funds to purchase more than 400 auxiliary power systems.
 
Other investments by the Commonwealth, in conjunction with those by private enterprises, have created electrified truck-stop parking spaces at 11 locations across the state. For an online map of system locations, visit www.idleaire.com and click on “Locations.”
 
For more information, visit DEP's Diesel Idling webpage.

3/13/2009

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