– In May, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a model idling law designed to provide guidance to states and local communities seeking to address idling. The idling guidance was developed based on stakeholder input from five public workshops organized across the country during 2005. The workshops were held in Baltimore, Atlanta, Chicago, San Francisco, and Hartford with the goal of developing a model idling law to foster better compliance and raise awareness about the needs of various stakeholders (truckers, environmental groups, states, etc.).
The model law was developed in response to concerns about the inconsistency of state and local idling laws. Key elements of the model idling law include limiting idling to less than five minutes with exemptions allowed during cold weather. Loading and unloading vehicles are not allowed to idle for more than 30 minutes. The law allows trucks to idle at rest stops until a state financial assistance program for idle-reduction technologies is established.
For states, reducing idling translates into substantial reductions of air pollutants, while for the trucking industry, reducing idling results in considerable fuel savings. According to EPA studies, long duration truck idling annually consumes more than one billion gallons of diesel fuel at considerable costs to the trucking industry. As a result, truck idling annually emits more than 11 million tons of carbon dioxide and more than 180,000 tons of nitrogen oxides, as well as fine particulate matter and other harmful air toxics.
EPA’s model idling law is available at www.epa.gov/smartway/documents/420s06001.pdf.