Author: Jay Krishnan, VP Marketing, Automile
When fleet drivers are going from Point A to Point B, there is a lot that happens in between. The driver will need to take breaks, eat, rest, make phone calls, etc. – all things that go with the territory. And while these activities are all understandably part of the nature of the job, they can be a problem if they result in too much idling time for the vehicle. When the engine is running but the vehicle is parked, it translates into wasted fuel, the extra money spent, and more wear-and-tear on the vehicle – factors that prevent your fleet from operating smartly and efficiently. And without the tools and technology to manage drivers and minimize idling time, it will be hard to understand the extent of the problem – and how it can be solved.
Idling => Wasted Fuel Costs
With fleet managers under more pressure than ever to drive costs down, any time a vehicle is spent idling translates to money going down the drain – or, to be more accurate, disappearing into thin air. Industry estimates suggest that idling time translates into $1.13 per truck per day, equating to over $400 per year. Multiply that by the number of vehicles in your fleet and the costs can go up exponentially. And as fleets are striving to lower their operating costs, idling represents a huge loss of dollars that could be spent more wisely.
Idling => Increased Maintenance Costs
Still, it’s not just about the direct loss of money by way of wasted fuel – the more trucks idle, the more strain they put on the engine. Data from the American Trucking Association suggests that excessive idling can increase maintenance costs by more than $2,000 per year. The more time spent idling, the more damage it can do to the health of the vehicle, requiring more costs in maintenance and repairs while shortening the lifespan of the engine.
Anti-Idling Laws => Decreased CO2 Emission
The true costs of idling don’t end there either, as more states and municipalities are passing anti-idling laws over environmental concerns. With research showing that idling vehicles consume more than 1 billion gallons of diesel fuel and emit 11 million tons of carbon dioxide into the air, local governments are increasing their efforts to curtail the impact of idling.
In this growing regulatory landscape, many states, counties, and municipalities have passed laws limiting the time vehicles can spend idling to anywhere from 3 minutes to 20 minutes, with additional regulations about where idling is not permitted at all (such as around schools or in residential areas). With fines and penalties for violations ranging from $30 to $300 for a first offense, and increasing substantially for subsequent incidents, the costs can quickly multiply.
So what can businesses and fleet leaders do to minimize idling time?
The key is gaining greater visibility into driver behavior – understanding how much time the vehicle is idling along the way. You can achieve this by investing in an appropriate fleet tracking technology. Drivers are focused on doing what they love, and it is critical to educate them on the importance of reducing vehicle idling time and providing them assistance on how to improve it.
When you have a pulse on your fleet’s idling, the result will be a reduced impact on the environment, longer lasting vehicles, and more money in your pocket.
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