Local governments work to reduce idling and save fuel

EVERETT, Wash. -- Dozens of city and county government agencies from the Puget Sound region are coming together for a conference on engine idling.

Lead by Western Washington Clean Cities, the agencies are learning how their fleets of trucks and buses can adopt new technology and training programs to save money, fuel and the air.

Some agencies, like Snohomish Public Utility District, started adopting anti-idling programs a year ago.

"The trick is to determine what's necessary idling versus unnecessary idling," said Frank Castro, senior manager of distribution and engineering shared services.

Castro worked with PUD's 550 truck drivers to save 8,000 gallons of fuel last year.

Much of that savings came from simple awareness -- asking drivers not to idle.

The rest came from anti-idling technology installed in some trucks, like the ones with flashing safety arrows parked at work sites.

Castro explained how battery packs can power the flashing arrows until they sense they need re-charging and automatically turn the truck's engine back on.

That sensor lets the truck's engine remain off most of the day, instead of running all day as it did before the technology was installed.

Western Washington Clean Cities says it's working with many other agencies to adopt similar programs. Some of those include Seattle City Light, Seattle Police, Bellevue Public Works, Tacoma Public Utilities, Kent Regional Fire Authority, Eastside Fire and Rescue, Gig Harbor Fire and Rescue, and Tacoma Fire Department.


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