Here’s a short video Jack took the other day at about mile 86 of the Dalton. The truck got too close to the edge when it met another truck and went off the side and rolled over. A tree trunk punctured the tanker and according to the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation about 3,000 gallons of ultra low sulfur diesel spilled onto the ground. Here is a link to the local newspaper’s article about it.
Jack carries approximately 9,200 gallons in the tanker he uses. Other tankers are larger or smaller. All or most tankers have different compartments though so when one has a spill most likely it’s only that compartment that empties. Having different compartments enables truckers to carry different types of liquids and/or put weight at different places in the load.
(YouTube has a bad habit of giving you the lowest resolution so if you want to see more detail try clicking one of the HD choices under settings in the lower right hand corner of the video screen.)
Another way Jack stays warm has to do with the generator in his truck that enables him to turn off the truck’s engine in the winter and not worry about the cab freezing or the engine not starting again. In fact, this generator is supposed to run at all times that the truck isn’t and keep the cab at room temperature or close to it. Unfortunately, reality is not quite that ideal. The generator sometimes breaks down and at those times Jack is forced to run the truck all night at any temperature below about 40 or 50 degrees (since even though Jack has an inner furnace, even he has a hard time sleeping when it’s below 50 degrees).
When I first learned that trucking companies run big trucks all the time during the winter, or at least used to before they got generators to keep the cab warm even when the truck was not running, I was shocked at the amount of fuel that must be needed on a daily basis throughout the winter. This is unfortunate, and it’s impressive that Carlile is one of the first trucking companies in Alaska to start using the generators in order to cut down on fuel use.
This 4KW generator runs on diesel which it draws from the truck’s fuel tank. It powers an electric heater under the bed in the cab and a fan blows heated air into the cab from there. On top of that, the generator serves another purpose: to circulate antifreeze through the truck’s engine in cold temperatures, preventing it from getting too cold to start. It’s a great deal and all big rigs driven up here should have them to cut down on fuel usage.