What You Can Do
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- Turn off your engine when your vehicle is not in motion and follow applicable idling restrictions in your state. States in New England with idling regulations are:
- Connecticut (PDF) (11 pp, 204 K)
- Maine (PDF) (3 pp, 12 K)
- Massachusetts (PDF) (2 pp, 142 K)
- New Hampshire (PDF) (5 pp, 30 K)
- Rhode Island (PDF) (6 pp, 25 K)
- When school bus drivers arrive at loading or unloading areas to drop off or pick up passengers, they should turn off their buses as soon as possible to reduce idling time and reduce harmful emissions. The school bus should not be restarted until it is ready to depart.
- If buses need engine power to run flashing lights during longer duration loading and unloading, consider installing an extra battery and changing the circuit configurations so that the flashing lights can be powered by the battery without the engine running.
- At school bus depots, limit the idling time during early morning warm-up to what is recommended by the manufacturer and permitted by state anti-idling laws. In colder climates, block heaters, which plug into electrical outlets, can help keep the engine warm enough to avoid starting difficulties and shorten warm-up time.
- In the winter, schools can provide a space indoors where bus drivers who arrive early or who are waiting during sporting events can wait. Bus companies should consider equipping buses with small fuel-operated heaters to keep the driver warm without running the engine.
- Follow anti-idling laws in your state. All New England states have anti-idling regulations (see "Individuals" section above).
- Ensure school buses are regularly maintained for best exhaust and interior air quality.
- Reinforce smart bus driving practices such as following at least 3 car lengths behind any vehicle with visible exhaust or a noticeable odor.
- School buses typically burn about a half a gallon of diesel fuel for each hour that they idle. If a company operates 50 buses and each bus reduces its idling time by 30 minutes per day, at 4 dollars per gallon of diesel fuel, the company would save over $9,000 per school year in fuel costs. Calculate your savings.
- Inform drivers of the health risks associated with breathing diesel fumes, and the benefits of not idling.
- Establish a program to recognize compliant drivers. For example, create buttons that drivers who pledge to follow the guidelines can wear.
Diesel Fleet Managers
- Retrofit older but useful diesel engines with pollution control devices, which are certified by EPA.
- When purchasing a new truck or bus, ensure that you are buying one that meets EPA's current standards. Starting with model year 2014, medium and heavy-duty vehicles will be more fuel efficient.
- Consider purchasing heavy-duty vehicles that are equipped with devices that minimize idling and warm-up time automatically, or upgrade existing vehicles with such devices. See https://www3.epa.gov/smartway/forpartners/technology.htm#tabs-4
- Consider purchasing heavy-duty vehicles that run on cleaner fuels like compressed natural gas.
- The Department of Energy's Alternative Fuels Data Center web site can help.
- DOE also maintains a list of CNG fueling stations, both public and private.
- Institute an anti-idling policy for your drivers, and recognize or reward high achievers.
- Consider joining EPA's SmartWay Transport Partnership.