Drivers, Stop Your Engines
by Abrahm Lustgarten, FORTUNE Magazine

(FORTUNE Magazine) - Trucks move 88% of the nation's goods over 440 billion miles a year. And when drivers stop to rest--for ten hours a day, by law--they idle in order to power the air conditioning and television inside their cabs.

Now a privately held company called IdleAire, armed with $320 million in new venture funding, is building a nationwide system for drivers to shut down and plug in to the power grid via a multifunctional tube of electronics.

Truckers can save gas, curb pollution, and avoid breathing in diesel fumes while they sleep. An end to all idling could cut CO2 emissions by 32 million tons, conserving more than 2% of U.S. oil imports a year. Take a look at what comes inside IdleAire's tube.

Card reader:

Pay here. IdleAire charges $1.85 an hour and projects $100 million annual profits by '08.

120V shore power:

Using central power can save over three billion gallons of fuel a year.

Touchscreen computer:

Drivers surf the web and fulfill training requirements by watching streaming video.

Help button:

If a driver gets lost in the complexity of the display, there's 24/7 support.

USB ports:

Truckers who double as tech geeks can even plug in their own keyboard and mouse.


Drivers can use VoIP to make free local calls and save cellphone minutes.

Central heat and air:

Fume-free climate control is a trucker's first need when parked. Top of page