An idling engine isn’t doing your company vehicles any favors. It’s not helping the environment and it’s costing you wasted dollars, and for what? Just turn off that idling engine and make the roads a better place. Read on for answers to your questions about vehicle idling and its impact on your business.
How much fuel am I needlessly burning while idling?
Idling in the US uses more than 6 billion gallons of fuel at a cost of more than $20 billion each year. What’s YOUR share? According to research compiled by Argonne National Laboratory, the idling fuel use (gal/h) of a…
- Class 1 passenger car running on gasoline = .16 (no load) and .29 (with load)
- Class 5 delivery truck running on diesel fuel = .84 (no load) and 1.1 (with load)
- Class 6-7 medium heavy truck running on diesel fuel = .44 (no load)
How much is this costing my business?
Consider the number of hours each day/week/month your average company vehicle spends idling and multiply that by the price of fuel—and then multiply that by the number of company vehicles in your fleet—and you’ll have a rough idea of how much money you’re wasting on wasted fuel.
That doesn’t even tell the whole story. You also have costs related to maintenance and replacements that are impacted by idling. Use this Idling Reduction Savings Calculator from Argonne National Laboratory to calculate your total costs for avoidable idling using.
Idling hurts the environment, right?
It does. Idling increases the amount of vehicle exhaust, which contains many pollutants that can harm human bodies and the environment. The Environmental Defense Fund reports that for every 10 minutes your engine is off, you’ll prevent one pound of carbon dioxide from being released. That’s important because CO2 is the primary greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change. So if you want to cut down on the hazardous pollution your company spews into the air of your community, cut back on idling.
Can’t I let my vehicle idle when I want to warm it up?
This is no longer advised. Today’s engines warm up faster and more efficiently when being driven. According to FuelEconomy.gov, most manufacturers recommend driving off gently after about 30 seconds. Stephen Ciatti gets straight to the point in Business Insider, saying that “idling your car in the cold not only wastes fuel, but it’s also stripping oil from critical components that help your engine run, namely the cylinders and pistons.” So, do your (cold) engine a favor: stop needlessly idling.
How can my drivers go “idle-free?”
Turn off their ignitions if they’re waiting more than 10 seconds. When they’re stopped by a freight train, sitting in front of a job site filling out paperwork, waiting for another technician to hop in the passenger seat, or loading the vehicle with supplies…
They shouldn’t worry about re-starting the engine, either. The Environmental Defense Fund says that frequent restarts are no longer hard on a car’s engine and battery—they don’t add significantly to the wear-and-tear of the vehicle. It’s more costly to waste fuel by idling: idling for just 10 seconds wastes more gas than restarting the engine. In fact, idling actually increases overall engine wear by causing the car to operate for longer than necessary.
The Argonne National Laboratory warns that there is no one-size-fits-all solution to idling—and the recommendations might vary for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles such as tractor-trailer trucks. You can find some solutions from the US Department of Energy.
Is there way to find out if my drivers are needlessly idling?
You bet! Automile’s vehicle telematics solution has a notifications feature that will alert you via e-mail, SMS (text), HttpPost, Slack, or your Automile Inbox when one of your vehicles is idling. You can watch the trends and talk to your drivers about their driving events to “clean up” their idling time—and make more efficient use of their fuel.
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