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Saving Gas While Fighting Crime in Tallahassee

March 20, 2012 - 9:16am

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Police cars in Tallahassee, FL are using EECBG funding from the Recovery Act to reduce idle time and save fuel and taxpayer money. | Courtesy of Tallahassee Police Department.

Police cars in Tallahassee, FL are using EECBG funding from the Recovery Act to reduce idle time and save fuel and taxpayer money. | Courtesy of Tallahassee Police Department.

If you’ve ever watched an episode of the TV show “Cops,” you might have noticed that police cars are often idling – whether from the frequency of ‘routine’ traffic stops, highway incident responses or being on the scene for investigations. This idling can add up to hundreds of gallons of fuel wasted every month -- not the best average for a city during a time of high gas prices and tight city budgets.

To help reverse this trend, the City of Tallahassee, Florida’s Fleet Management Division has designed and built its own Less Idle Time (LIT) package and has installed the equipment in 27 police cars using EECBG funding through the Recovery Act.

The LIT uses batteries and other features to allow police cruisers to have full electrical capability while the engine is off, including the use of emergency lights and air conditioning. Additionally, significant fuel and carbon emissions savings are expected over the normal eight-year vehicle life of a police car. Thanks to reduced engine idle time, LIT could increase the vehicle lifespan by 30 percent (or another two years.)

As with any design built from scratch, there has been a learning curve, but the city's fleet personnel have worked together to resolve each challenge they’ve encountered. The city intends to eventually outfit all police cars with LIT packages. Similar equipment is being developed for other fleet vehicles that idle for several hours a day such as the city’s utility bucket trucks.

More LIT benefits

  • Can save up to $2,000 a year in fuel per vehicle (based on a 2-hour-per-day usage per vehicle).
  • Can eliminate up to 73 pounds of CO2 emissions per-vehicle every day.
  • Is installed in the trunk and runs the entire electrical system, including emergency lights and AC
  • Works from one to five hours depending on ambient air temperature and thermostat settings.
  • Recharges while the engine is running. 

Learn more about the strategies vehicle fleets are using to increase efficiency and reduce petroleum use by joining our Live Twitter Q&A today, March 20 at 12PM EST. Or for more information about energy efficiency projects happening in communities across the country, visit the EECBG website or read about the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

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