Idle reduction toolbox available for fleets

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — The Clean Cities initiative in the US has developed an IdleBox tool fleets can use to develop or enhance their anti-idling programs.

Patricia Weikersheimer, a writer with the Argonne National Laboratory, described the electronic toolbox to fleet managers attending the Green Truck Summit. It includes PowerPoint presentations that explain the costs of idling, signage that can be printed and displayed at loading docks and in parking areas, Excel spreadsheets that calculate the costs of idling and stickers, tip sheets and employee pledge cards that can be printed off. The tools are housed online at and are free to use.

Larry Humphries, formerly fleet service manager with the Village of Downers Grove, Ill., was scheduled to speak about his municipality’s idle-reduction campaign. However, he recently took on a new job with a larger municipality, and so Linda Gaines of the Argonne National Laboratory presented on his behalf. Argonne is analyzing the before-and-after data collected from Downers Grove equipment as part of the program.

The town of 50,000 people just outside Chicago runs a diverse fleet of trucks, 80% of which are powered by alternative fuels including CNG, B-20 biodiesel, E-85 ethanol, propane and hybrid-electric drive systems.

The community was looking to reduce its idling to save money, Gaines explained. It had noticed that snowplows and other heavy trucks spent a lot of time idling between runs.

The town installed heat recovery devices that took heat generated by the engine and then circulated it through the cab to keep the passenger warm without the need for idling. The system was installed on 14 trucks in 2010, mostly Freightliner M2s and medium-duty Internationals. GPS data was used to calculate idle-time. While Argonne National Laboratory is still in the early stages of analyzing the data, the system seems to have produced somewhat disappointing results.

Idle-time on the first truck to be evaluated decreased from 50% to 42%, which was still higher than hoped for.

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  • There is not a driver shortage! There are just to many trucks out there, because the fuel prices keep going up and the rates keep dropping! If there would be a driver shortage the rates would go up because people will pay to get there product , but as long as there is to many trucks and rate slashers the rate will never go up!

  • Glad to see Clean Cities and other states getting “on board.” Our program (now in its 5th year) will actually provide free signage for loading areas and fleet stickers for any fleet or distribution center in the state of Georgia if they send us a copy of their Idle Reduction Policy. (