Sept. 14, 2012

Saving Fuel in the Garden State with Truck Stop Electrification

Truck stop electrification plays an important role in reducing unnecessary idling, fuel consumption, and tailpipe emissions.
Chuck Feinberg, Coordinator
New Jersey Clean Cities Coalition
Long-haul truck drivers throughout the United States typically idle their vehicles during mandated rest periods to maintain access to air conditioning, heat, and electricity. But truck stop electrification (TSE) sites cropping up across the county allow truckers to utilize these auxiliary systems without having to run their engines.

"Truck stop electrification plays an important role in reducing unnecessary idling, fuel consumption, and tailpipe emissions," said Chuck Feinberg of the New Jersey Clean Cities Coalition (NJCCC). The Garden State has two major sites--one in the northern part of the state, at the New Jersey Turnpike's Vince Lombardi Travel Center in Ridgefield, and another in southern New Jersey, at the Flying J Travel Plaza in Carneys Point.

Since its opening in late 2011, the Carneys Point site alone has seen more than 23,000 billable hours of service, which represents 250 metric tons of mitigated emissions and over 23,000 gallons of diesel fuel savings. Run by Clean Cities partner IdleAir, the site hosts 27 towers, each able to provide two trucks at a time with heating and air conditioning, electricity, cable TV, and Internet for a low hourly fee. The Vince Lombardi TSE site, run by CabAire, hosts 43 towers and is capable of serving 86 trucks.

Assistance from Clean Cities

According to IdleAir's Cynthia Perthuis, Clean Cities coalitions can provide pivotal assistance in overcoming the three main hurdles that TSE companies face--selecting a site, garnering community acceptance, and navigating the permitting puzzle.

"When considering a potential new TSE site, one of the most important requirements is a large parking lot with plenty of room for trucks to maneuver," Perthuis said. "The Carneys Point site was an easy choice, because it offered ample space with room for expansion."

"Clean Cities coalitions often assist us with finding suitable locations for new sites," she added. "And with their strong community ties, coalitions are invaluable in gaining local acceptance and support for such sites."

NJCCC provides outreach to help get the word out about the state's TSE sites and the benefits of TSE. "We've received lots of positive feedback from truckers and fleet managers," Feinberg said. "Truckers can reduce their fuel consumption; comply with new, more stringent anti-idling regulations; and enjoy the benefits that TSE offers. It's a win-win."

Feinberg says that New Jersey has anti-idling regulations in place, and the state has been recognized for its effective combination of anti-idling outreach and idling enforcement. Over the past year, inspectors from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection have been visiting truck stops, rest areas, and warehouse distribution centers to ensure compliance with regulations. Failure to comply can result in penalty assessments starting at $250 per day.

Reaping the Benefits

TSE helps truckers, fleet owners, and local economies alike.

"IdleAir helps us reduce our idle costs at its New Jersey site and many of its other locations across the United States," said Jeff Angst, fuel manager at Western Express. "IdleAir is an important part of our idle-reduction strategy, and we expect to increase our use of IdleAir as it opens more locations."

Reducing engine idling also reduces engine wear and maintenance costs while expanding the life of an engine and protecting air quality. Plus, TSE sites boost local economies as truckers purchase food and goods from area restaurants, grocery stores, and other retail outlets.

Finding Stations

The number of TSE sites nationwide is growing. Find a truck stop electrification location near you with the Alternative Fuel Data Center's Truck Stop Electrification Locator.

Photo of a tractor trailer hooked up to a truck stop electrification unit.