Electrified truck stops let tired drivers turn off their diesel engines

Long-haul trucking, however much our economy depends on it, is an environmental nightmare. For one thing, there’s all the gasoline burned. For another, as a recent episode of The Daily Show revealed, there are the sealed bottles of pee truckers throw out their windows on the fly. As much as we’d like to write about that, in fact it’s a third eco-sin — long periods that diesel trucks spend idling, spewing particulate pollution into the air — that’s increasingly being addressed. In the Northeast, a growing network of electrified truck stops supply heating, cooling, power outlets, and even wireless internet access to big rigs via electrical hookups at under $2 an hour, lower than the cost of idling on diesel fuel. Meanwhile, in California, air-quality officials have ordered big-rig sleeper trucks not to idle their diesel engines during layovers. The new rule, to take effect on 2008 model year trucks, will keep as much as 53 tons a day of smog-forming nitrogen oxide out of the air. Now, about that pee …

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