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Truck stops clean the air around diesels

Drivers of long-haul diesel trucks have traditionally kept their engines running at truck stops in order to keep their cabs cool or warm. But a new device let's them plug in, thereby reducing emissions.
Trucks at the Petro Travel Center in Knoxville, Tenn., get their power and air/heat from yellow ducts that connect to windows.
Trucks at the Petro Travel Center in Knoxville, Tenn., get their power and air/heat from yellow ducts that connect to windows.IdleAire Technologies
/ Source: The Associated Press

Hoping to reduce air pollution from idling diesel trucks, three Southern states will offer truck stop spaces where truckers can shut off their engines but still get electricity, air conditioning and even Internet access.

The 150 spaces along Interstate 85 in South Carolina, North Carolina and Georgia will be equipped with large hoses that truckers can connect to rig windows and get warm or cool air, Internet access and electricity, state officials announced last week.

“Most truckers let their engines idle at truck stops, even for prolonged stays, so they can use their air conditioners and other accessories,” said Myra Reece, head of the air quality bureau for South Carolina’s Department of Health and Environmental Control. “Idling truck engines emit a lot of air pollution as well as noise.”

The pollution contributes to air quality problems in the I-85 corridor, where several counties are in danger of not meeting new federal air quality standards.

At least 50 spaces each will be installed at truck stops in Anderson, S.C., Mebane, N.C., and Newnan, Ga. Truckers will be charged about $1.25 an hour for the services.

Officials said the hose will be able to blow warm and cool air and the front face of the hose will have several electrical outlets and a touch-screen computer with Internet access.

Funding for the $3.5 million project will come from a $1.5 million grant from the National Association of State Energy Officials and $2 million from IdleAire Technologies Corp., of Knoxville, Tenn., which makes the system.

IdleAire will receive a portion of fees charged to truckers for using the services. According to the company’s Web site, it already is operating 13 sites in Atlanta, Arkansas, California, New York, Tennessee and Texas.