U.S. Environmental Protection Agency +
Idle Reduction for Shippers
A Glance at Clean Freight Strategies
idle hours
gallons for
At te as1
per gallon
per day
At 300
rdays per year1
"No idling"policies and practices can improve air quality in and around your facilities and
docks, save fuel, and reduce your supply chain's carbon footprint.
Drivers waiting to load or unload at a shipper's facility tend to let their engines idle for one of
several reasons:2
For comfort-to power a heater or air conditioning unit..
To generate electricity for on-board appliances, electronics, and auxiliary equipment.
In extreme cold, to prevent fuel from gelling and the engine block from freezing.
Due to the outdated thinking that idling is good for the engine,
k Out of habit.
Excessive idling is an inefficient and expensive use of diesel fuel and largely preventable source
of emissions. On average, an idling diesel engine will consume 0.8 gallons of fuel per hour
and emit more than 18 pounds of CO23 in addition to other pollutants such as fine particulates,
increasing the health risks for dockworkers and others at your facility.4
You may not have direct control over driver behavior but you can influence it while a driver and
truck are at your facility. Here's what you can do to reduce or eliminate idLing on your premises:
Institute a "no idLing" poLicy with clear signage. Explain it both to drivers and their
managers, communicating in detail the rules that must be followed.
Offer preferential loading and unloading times and docks to fleets with no-idling policies.
Establish climate-controlled "comfort stations" at your facility where drivers can wait.
Encourage and incentivize the use of SmartWay-verified idle-reduction devices:
Auxiliary Power Units (APUs) and gen-sets; direct-fired heaters; and automatic engine
shut-down and start-up systems.
Train supervisors and others with authority (including security personnel) how to tactfully
approach and discuss your no-idling policy with drivers, emphasizing potential cost
savings and reduced engine wear.
As a shipper, you have direct control over the amount of time drivers have to wait at your facility
to load or unload (a.k.a. detention time). By reducing detention time, you can reduce the need
for idling. Several factors contribute to excessive detention time, including:5
Limitations at facilities, including the inability to drop-and-hookand insufficient loading
equipment or staff. These limitations can be exacerbated when facilities over-book
appointments and create a backlog of vehicles.
Products not being properly staged, palletized, and ready to load when the truck arrives.
Bills of lading and other documents are missing or not properly filled out.
Scheduling practices that encourage drivers to line up hours before the facility opens.
EPA-420-F-19-012 | March 2019 | SmartWay Transport Partnership |

Idle Reduction for Shippers: A Glance at Clean Freight Strategies (continued)
Generally speaking, the capital costs for implementing and
maintaining a no-idling policy are low. The costs for signage
($50 or less for an aluminum sign) and for training employees
about the policy are nominal (these rules are usually
incorporated into regular orientation and training classes).
Offering drivers access to a waiting area at your facilities
should incur no costs. However, the cost to make those areas
appealing (adding TY, seating, vending machines, Wi-Fi and
electrical outlet access, a desk, etc.) will vary.
There are several benefits to shippers that institute no-idling
policies at their facilities.
Reduced fueL-reLated charges: An idling diesel engine will
consume approximately 0.8 gallons of fuel per hour.6 Fuel
burned at idle can affect the calculation of the carrier's fuel
surcharge and potentially inflate your overall transportation costs.
Operational efficiency: Detention impacts a driver's ability to
meet your delivery schedules and his federal hours of service
requirements by reducing available driving time. Additionally, for
about 65 percent of drivers, detention time has resulted in lost
revenue from either missing an opportunity to secure another
load or paying late fees to the shipper.7 There is an environmental
cost to detention as well: every minute a truck sits in your yard
is an opportunity for the driver to idle the engine and generate
exhaust emissions.
Improved air quaLity: While more stringent heavy-duty diesel
emissions standards improve the nation's newer fleet, millions of
older diesel engines remain in use. These "legacy" vehicles emit
large amounts of nitrogen oxides and particulate matter,
both of which contribute to serious health problems, including
premature mortality and hundreds of thousands of asthma
attacks. These health problems result in millions of lost work days,
increased health insurance costs, and other impacts to your workers.8
Newer heavy-duty truck engi nes (model year 2010 and later) are
required to comply with stringent emission standards for oxides
of nitrogen (NOx), frequently achieved by the use of the after-
treatment emission control technology called selective catalytic
reduction (SCR). When functioning properly, the SCR system
has been demonstrated to reduce NOx by up to 94 percent.9
However, under conditions where the catalyst cools, such as
extended periods of idling, NOx is emitted in higher amounts10 at
untreated levels. To combat this, research has been conducted
on thermal management strategies to maintain higher exhaust
gas temperatures at lower engine load to keep the SCR active
and reducing NOx.11 However, the most effective method to
reduce NOx associated with idling is to shut off the engine.
Savings: By lowering carriers' costs through 'no idling' rules and
preferred dock treatment, shippers might be able to negotiate
lower shipping rates. For example, if a warehouse distribution
facility has 25 trucks idling two hours per day, this would equal
50 idle-hour or the consumption of 40 gaLLons of diesel
(assuming 0.8 gallons per hour). At $3.85 per gaLLon 12 (August
2014) this would cost $154 per day. For facilities operating 300
days a year, this fuel consumption would cost $46,200 and
produce about 270,000 pounds of carbon emissions (15,000
hours @ 18 pounds per hour). By facilitating the reduction of
diesel consumption by its carriers, shippers help to lower the cost of
their fuel, which is a savings that may be passed on to the shipper.
A no-idle policy combined with efforts to reduce detention time
can improve the operational efficiency at your facility, reduce
detention-related charges, and perhaps position you as a
"shipper of choice" when carriers allocate capacity.
Post "no-idling" signage at facility entrances, loading zones, and docks. Signs must be clear,
easy-to-read, and abundant. Use SmartWay branding on the signage to create awareness of your
organization's commitment to freight sustainability and environmental responsibility.
Communicate the reasons for your no-idle policy to your employees, carriers, and their drivers,
and incorporate the policy into your carrier agreements.
Establish a driver comfort station where drivers should stay while their vehicle is waiting to be
loaded or unloaded.
Take steps to reduce detention times and improve efficiency at your facilities, including scheduling
appointment times, training drivers to be more familiar with your operations, and providing the
resources your own dockworkers and staff need to move goods efficiently.

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