How to Avoid Idle Fines

    Over the past few years, almost half of all US states have enacted laws aimed at eliminating engine idling for more than three to five minutes. In 2018, the government of New York City started the Citizens Air Complaints Program which now provides incentives for people to report commercial vehicles idling. By doing so, these individuals can receive up to 25% of the fines levied by the city. Last year alone, the city collected around $2.4 million in fines as a result of this program. Because these fines increase with each offense, a single fleet could pay thousands of dollars in fines if they are continuously caught idling.

     While these laws may be well intentioned to reduce noise and air pollution, they do not assist the thousands of fleet operators who need to use liftgates to deliver their goods and services. Without an operating liftgate, deliveries will slow down, and supply-chain congestion will only build up. Now, fleets and drivers are stuck between a rock and a hard place. They need to keep their liftgates running to deliver their goods, but they run the risk of fines each time they do so. This is frustrating for fleets in a place like New York City where these laws tie their hands.

      Since almost all liftgates depend on the engine alternator and the starter batteries for power, these trucks must idle at least some point in the day to deliver more charge to the liftgate. If a driver does not run the engine a bit to charge the liftgate back up, the liftgate can drain vehicle's starter batteries, resulting in a dead truck. Then, the vehicle needs to be rescued which causes the fleet to incur even greater costs from lost deliveries and maintenance needs. 

      Blackburn's product, RelGen, has the capacity to power a liftgate throughout a full day of deliveries and eliminate these idle fines without hindering a fleet's operations. To keep powering liftgates when the engine is off, Blackburn's technology will store the captured kinetic energy given off by the truck in a battery (standard or auxiliary). With this technology, fleet operators and drivers will not have to worry about draining their starter battery while continuing to deliver their products on schedule. Now, fleets have the opportunity to reap the other financial benefits of eliminating idling too. These include the cost savings from fuel and maintenance that idling is associated with. With RelGen, a fleet can expect a one-year payback on investment on fuel savings alone. Coupled with the elimination of idle fines and improved operational capacity, these savings quickly add up.

      With Blackburn's technology, fleets in a city like New York no longer will no longer be stuck between this rock and hard place that regulations put them in. They can begin to comply with the various laws around noise and air pollution without any sacrifices to their business. RelGen quickly becomes a one-stop solution that simultaneously addresses multiple issues that fleets currently face.


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