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PRI's Environmental News Magazine

Technology Note

Air Date: Week of

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Living on Earth's Jennifer Chu reports on a new technology developed by the New York State Thruway to cut down on idling diesel trucks and fuel emissions.


CURWOOD: You're listening to NPR's Living on Earth. Just ahead, the voices of residents of homes now haunted by the World Trade Center tragedy. First, this environmental Technology Note from Jennifer Chu.

CHU: Truck drivers may be able to save fuel and cut pollution by simply taking a break. When truckers pull into a rest stop to sleep, they usually let their engines idle, to either heat or cool their sleeping cabins. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the practice uses up about a gallon of diesel fuel an hour, and for truckers on long hauls that can mean an average of six hours of engine idling a day. One single truck could produce 300 pounds of carbon monoxide and 20,000 pounds of carbon dioxide per year, just by idling.

Now, the New York State Thruway Authority has installed the first of more than 40 hook-ups at rest stops, to help truckers cut their engines. The hook-ups provide electric powered heat and air conditioning without the added noise and air pollution. Truckers can hook the unit up to the window via a large yellow hose, and then swipe a credit card to start it up. It's a dollar forty to use the hook-up, compared with a dollar sixty-five of fuel used up in an hour of idling. Thruway authorities say it's too early to tell if the technology is catching on, but, so far, many truckers are repeat customers. That's this week's Tech Note. I'm Jennifer Chu.

CURWOOD: And you're listening to Living on Earth.



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