Wal-Mart pledges to reduce truck idling

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Wal-Mart says it will reduce truck idling at its 4,000 U.S. facilities as a result of the nation’s first multi-state case that addresses idling violations.

New England’s regional U.S. Environmental Protection Agency office charged trucks idled illegally at Massachusetts and Connecticut Wal-Mart stores, according to an agency statement. As part of the settlement, the chain will post “no idling” signs at every facility, train drivers on the subject and notify other delivery companies of its new policy. The consent agreement also requires the company pay a $50,000 penalty.

In fall 2004, EPA inspectors observed both Wal-Mart trucks and trucks owned by other companies idling at length at six Wal-Mart Connecticut and Massachusetts locations. Massachusetts prohibits idling more than five minutes, while Connecticut limits idling to three minutes except when temperatures are lower than 20 degrees Fahrenheit. Both states allow exceptions for situations such as traffic conditions and repairs.

These anti-idling rules are part of the implementation plans that each state submits to EPA outlining how they will meet national air quality standards. An idling truck burns nearly a gallon of fuel per hour. The agency noted if Wal-Mart’s 7,000 trucks idled for one hour a day, the engines would burn an annual 2.1 million gallons of diesel, creating 415 tons of smog-forming pollutants, 10 tons of harmful particulate matter and 23,000 tons of carbon dioxide, which contributes to global climate change.