Baltimore/Washington Region Kicks off Anti-Idling Campaign

The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governors kicked off a campaign for diesel idle reduction in the Washington/Baltimore region Tuesday, supported by several other groups including American Trucking Associations and the American Bus Association.

The campaign aims at “decreasing emissions…and improving air quality for everyone” and will encourage commercial drivers to turn off their engines, resulting in both economic and environmental benefits, the council said.

“Turning the engine off when it doesn’t need to be on is one of the easiest and most efficient steps bus and truck drivers can take to help improve the region’s air quality,” said Leta Mach, chair of the Metropolitan Washington Air Quality Committee. “This simple act will help drivers to avoid costly fines, save money and curb fuel use.”

Trucks and buses currently idle about 2,200 hours per year, equating to about 800 million gallons of fuel annually. The council estimates that shortening idle time by saving 0.1 mile per gallon could save up to $6 million to $8 million each year.

In addition to improving air quality and increasing the bottom line for transportation companies, decreasing idling will also reduce engine wear-and-tear on trucks and buses.

“Any way you look at it, it’s a win-win situation,” said Glen Kedzie, environmental affairs counsel for ATA.  He praised the campaign as having positive effects “far beyond public health,” citing improvement of the trucking industry’s carbon footprint as well as its public image.