New gadgetry at truck stops could help slash pollution from idling big rigs. Most truck drivers across the U.S. leave their vehicles’ engines running all night while they’re parked at truck stops because it’s the only way to keep the heating or air conditioning on while they get some shuteye. Between 840 million and 2 billion gallons of gasoline are burned each year in the U.S. by these idling trucks, according to an estimate from the South Coast Air Quality Management District in southern California, and that results in a lot of dangerous diesel exhaust that can damage lungs and exacerbate asthma or bronchitis, not to mention heat up the planet. IdleAire Technologies, a Tennessee-based company, has a solution to this dirty problem: truck stops where drivers can turn off their engines and tap into a system that gives them heated or cooled air via a tube with a control panel that attaches to a truck window. The system even offers Internet access. Think eco-friendly drive-in theater for the 21st century. So far, 200 truck stops in the U.S. have plans to adopt the IdleAire technology.
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