Monday, January 07, 2008

The Importance of Idling...and Fuel.

Day 71
Here's something you probably didn't know...
When trucker's park it for the night and go back into the sleeper cab they usually leave the truck's engine running (called "idling") so that they still have heat/air conditioning and electricity. In some areas where it is illegal to idle (like California) some truck stops have "shore power" - basically a socket they can plug their truck into so that they can have heat and power without idling their truck.
Besides being illegal in some states, idling also uses fuel, thus no fuel no idle, no heat/power. Fuel is very expensive - my truck can hold almost 300 gallons, and it burns at a rate of 6-8 miles per gallon. The company pays for fuel by providing drivers with a fuel purchasing card which is activated once you are dispatched.
So here's the story:
I am a new driver. I have my truck, I have my fuel card, and I am waiting to be dispatched. Still waiting. Meanwhile I have been idling my truck for heat & power. Two days ago I had a quarter tank. Now I have none. Since I haven't been dispatched, my fuel card is inactive. No fuel, no idle, no heat or power. But wait! The company yard has shore power! I run to the shop and borrow an extension chord. I finally manage to get it to reach from the socket to my truck (I am parked just barely close enough) and now I am all plugged in, I crank on the heat and...cold air. Still cold. Even as I type. Cold. I have power, but for some reason no heat. I asked another driver and he said something about "playing with the thermostat" which I have done (I think?) but still nothing. I will have too sort it out later. I'm tired and at least I have an electric blanket (which I am now really glad I got) but the thing maxes out at 35 degrees. That just doesn't seem right. Maybe they meant Celcius. Anyways it feels a little warmer than 35 but not as warm as I would like. Good thing I have lots of blankets. Brrrrrr. Frigggin' fuel card. Sheesh.

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