Deploy no idle/limited idle time vehicle technologies. Many law enforcement agencies and departments across the country require vehicles to sit at idle for significant periods of time (4-8 hours) during the course of a work day. This idle time is necessary due to hostile environmental conditions (extreme heat or cold) or other operational requirements.
Currently, anti idle technologies exist that allow interior enforcement systems to function with limited or no idle time required. This is estimated to save law enforcement agencies approximately $3,000 per vehicle annually. The aftermarket technology investment is paid for within the first year of service for applicable vehicles. During the following 4-5 years of a vehicle's lifecycle the savings* would range from $12,000 to $15,000 per vehicle, dependent upon usage. 25,000 vehicles with this technology deployed would save the federal government $300M - $375M over an average 6 year lifecycle. These calculations may be modest considering the quantity of federal vehicles that benefit may exceed 25,000.
In addition to the cost savings, the carbon footprint of enforcement agencies and departments would be dramatically decreased by the reduction of emissions that usually occur while vehicles idle. This initiative would eliminate an estimated* 4.5 billion pounds of carbon dioxide emissions over the 6 year period for the 25,000 vehicles.
Additional development can occur to further reduce the need for vehicle idle time in the federal government. One of the key challenges to current low/no idle systems is the need to run air conditioning and heating inside of law enforcement vehicles at locations of extreme temperatures. These enhanced technologies would serve the federal, state and local departments and agencies alike along the southwestern and northern locations where temperatures are most severe. These locations include Texas, Arizona, California, Washington and numerous additional enforcement dense population centers.
Investing in technologies that allow vehicles to maintain interior environmental controls and power to enforcement electronics while vehicles are not running would save additional millions (and potentially billions) of dollars in fuel costs, further reduce the country's dependence upon foreign oil and provide additional savings through reduction of vehicle maintenance requirements by limiting engine wear. This development would augment the aforementioned savings and pollution reduction and take another substantial step toward a greener government at all levels.
*Calculations based on information related to deployment of same/comparable technologies in Ottawa, Canada Police Department and Nevada Law Enforcement agencies.
Another potential beneficiary to deployment of this further enhanced no idle/limited idle technology may be the United States Postal Service and the nearly 200,000 vehicle fleet currently maintained. The savings for USPS could potentially be measured in billions of dollars over the same period of use ($1.8B – $2.4B based on 150K to 200K deployment). The carbon dioxide emissions could be reduced over the six year period by 27 billion to 36 billion pounds if vehicle idle trends are similar to that of law enforcement. This opportunity would require additional study, as the usage and idle trends for Postal vehicles are unknown to those outside of the USPS. Accordingly, one should be hesitant to count these projections as assured savings. However, the potential does prompt consideration and study of USPS applicability.