(Feb. 22) The American Trucking Associations, Alexandria, Va., is endorsing a proposed tax credit that would help the environment and keep drivers warm at the same time.

A bill introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Rep. Kay Granger (R-Texas) would reward trucking companies that installed idling reduction devices in their vehicles.

Idling reduction devices allow truckers to use their heat, air-conditioning and other functions without running their engines.

Anti-idling laws have become increasingly popular with cities and states looking to cut down on pollution.

New York City, for instance, established a regulation limiting how long truckers can idle on or outside the Hunts Point Terminal Market while they wait to unload.

Under that regulation, truckers may leave their engines running for just three minutes. If the temperature falls below 25 degrees, the law is suspended.

The regulation was passed, in part, after studies showed that children in South Bronx, where Hunts Point is located, are more likely to suffer from asthma, which has been linked to vehicle emissions.

The bill proposed by Granger would provide a 25% tax credit, worth up to $1,000, for each idling reduction device purchased by trucking companies.

In 2007, the Environmental Protection Agency will begin requiring trucking companies to introduce trucks with lower-emission engines into their fleets. Eventually, these new engines are expected to reduce particulate matter emissions by 90% and smog-forming nitrogen oxide emissions by 95%.

The EPA estimates that one truck consumes eight gallons of diesel fuel for every 10 hours a main engine idles. That adds up to 2,400 gallons of diesel fuel per year per truck, just to idle.