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A Look at the True Cost of Idling

Gary

Truck drivers have a lot of responsibility when they are on the road, safety being the biggest concern. Because of the risks that come from driving while fatigued, federal regulations require drivers to take 10 hours of rest for every 11 hours spent driving. Extreme weather temperatures or poor road conditions can increase fatigue. Keeping drivers comfortable during these resting periods so they can get enough sleep to stay alert and make safe decisions while on the road is essential for the safety of both the driver and all motorists.

When the temperatures begin cooling down in the fall and winter months, many truck drivers begin worrying about not being able to restart their engines after these long breaks from driving. This is because colder temperatures can cause the engine oil to thicken and the batteries begin to lose their cranking power. Since many drivers rely entirely on a battery system through the winter months, their solution is to simply not turn the engine off, which is known as idling. So many drivers leave their trucks idling for hours at a time as opposed to taking the risk of turning off their engine and having their truck not restart.

Drivers also idle their engines so they can run the heating or air conditioning in the cab, especially while parked overnight. Without using the air conditioning or heating, temperatures in the cab are impossible to regulate and leaving the windows open is a security risk.

Idle or Family Vacation?

Idling is an expensive solution to this problem as a typical truck burns one gallon of diesel fuel for each hour it idles. So if this truck were to idle for 10 hours a day, 300 days a year, it would end up using 3,ooo gallons of fuel per year simply while it is idling. At the cost of $2.60 per gallon of diesel, this ends up wasting $7,800 on fuel, just from idling. To put this cost in perspective, the average family of 4 spends $4,580 on a vacation.

Idling the engine also causes twice the wear and tear on parts compared to driving at regular speeds. This wear and tear can add up quickly, costing around $39 per day in maintenance costs for the average long haul driver.

Idling trucks also emit significant amounts of pollution such as carbon dioxide, which is a factor in global climate change, nitrogen oxides, which are a factor in ozone smog, and carbon monoxide. And when drivers sit in idling vehicles they are exposed to this pollution at higher rates than when the vehicle is in motion since there is no air flow to vent the emissions. An APU emits 80 to 90% less pollution when running than the typical diesel engine in a long haul truck.

Because of the wasted fuel and negative effects to the environment, most states have enforced anti-idling legislation. Drivers can receive fines as high as $20,000 or even jail time for idling their trucks for extended periods of time. Here is a visual breakdown of the impact of idling your truck.

 

The costs associated with idling make the use of an auxiliary power unit an easy one to make. An APU built for a commercial truck is a small diesel engine that has its own heating and cooling system, and air conditioning compressor, and is kept in an enclosure and mounted to one of the frame rails of a semi-truck.

2.3 million Diesel trucks are in the U.S. and roughly 600,000 of these are equipped with sleeper cabs. These trucks are perfect for housing APUs to maintain climate control and perform other functions, such as providing on-board power.

Drivers who choose to use an APU only burn about 0.10 of a gallon of diesel per hour. Using the same figures as above, using an APU would save an average of 2,834 gallons of  fuel per year and it would eliminate the additional maintenance fees and overall wear and tear on the engine.

There are many different APUs to choose from but the HP2000 is the only APU utilizing our patented heat pump system. The Heat-Pump technology was designed by the company founder and owner Gary Parks. By using excess engine heat, the HP2000 is able to provide heat even during the coldest of temperatures without needing a fuel fired heater. The HP2000 generates as much as 20,000 BTUs of heating.

The HP2000 allows drivers to turn off the main engine and to simply enter in the desired temperature to the digital controller. The HP2000 will then provide warm or cold air as it simultaneously charges batteries and power electronics. And with the savings on gas and maintenance costs, for the average driver the HP2000 will nearly pay for itself in the first 12 months of ownership.

With the winter months quickly approaching, the HP2000 is a good investment to keep you safe both on and off the road.

Unnecessary Idling wastes money, reduces engine life, and creates pollution. It is easy overlook all the costs associated with idling but, doing so is wasting your hard earned money.

Portable Generator Blamed for Death of Trucker

Gary

In early 2015 a truck driver from Etta, Mississippi was found dead in his truck from what authorities have ruled as accidental carbon monoxide poisoning. 44 year old Wayne Azlin was found unconscious in his rig at an Arkansas weigh station after his father reported him missing to the authorities.

In what has become an all too common problem, carbon monoxide entered the cab of the sleeping driver. While authorities have not commented on why this happened, there are several cases each year of drivers passing away due to improper ventilation of carbon monoxide from portable generators being ran to comply with anti-idle laws and to cut fuel costs.

In the wake of this tragic loss, should drivers and fleet managers reconsider using portable generators on their rigs?

The Consumer Product Safety Commission determined that portable generators are the leading cause of carbon monoxide poisoning among engine-driven tools in the U.S. Based on the data, it becomes clear that generators and exhausted drivers are not a safe combination.

Unlike portable generators, auxiliary power units are designed to pipe exhaust gases safely away from the driver and truck cab. Many concerned family members have slated cost as a motivator of fleets and drivers who opt for portable generators instead of APUs. This misconception is one that needs to be addressed and put to rest so that drivers are given a safe way to keep warm when idling.

Our condolences go out to the family of Mr. Azlin and to all of the families that have lost a loved one from this prevalent but preventable issue. To our fellow drivers, stay safe out there and if you are going to continue to use a portable generator, please take the time to makes sure it is properly vented.

tank truck with hp2000 apu unit

APUs vs. Portable Generators for Trucks

Gary

 

Periodically we are asked what makes an auxiliary power unit worth the added initial cost over using a portable generator to run the a/c or to provide power to accessories in your truck while you are parked. I stress initial because it doesn’t take long for a quality APU to pay for itself while keeping you comfortable.

As most of you know, many states have now passed anti idling legislation that can result in fines up to $25,000 and even one year imprisonment in some states. This means that if you are parked in 5 degree weather or 105 degree weather, you may not be able to idle your truck to keep warm or cool.

Things the General Public Doesn’t Know About Truckers

Parks Industries

Private-sector businesses in the U.S. employ an estimated 8.9 million people in trucking-related jobs; nearly 3.5 million of those jobs are that of truck driver. The United States economy depends on trucks to deliver nearly 70 percent of all freight transported annually, accounting for $671 billion worth in manufactured and retail goods transported by truck in the U.S. alone. Add $295 billion in trucked trade with Canada and $195.6 billion with Mexico, and this represents an enormous portion of the economy. Nearly every single thing you eat, touch, wear, or use on a daily basis once sat in a truck.

It’s Official: Truck Day is the Best Winter Holiday for Truckers Everywhere!

Parks Industries

For those who’ve never heard of Truck Day, it’s that harbinger of warmer weather when Major League Baseball teams load up fleets of trucks with equipment and other player essentials and head off to Spring Training.

How do you know spring is coming? No, forget about the groundhogs (they’re untrustworthy at the very best). This year, it’s all about ground transportation. We know that it’s about to get warmer because at long last, it’s Truck Day.

Trucking in a Snowstorm

Parks Industries

The November storm that buried Buffalo, NY, disrupted supply chains for days.

A November storm that brought more than five feet of snow to Buffalo, and sub-freezing temperatures to other major freight markets, revived unpleasant memories among transportation and logistics professionals.

Last winter’s Polar Vortex paralyzed broad sections of the country from December through March. Recurring storms immobilized trucks and drove rates way up during the first quarter of the year, traditionally a slow season for freight. This year, a number of factors could make a harsh winter even worse.

The proof is in the numbers. See what sets the HP2000 apart. View Comparisons Chart