Truck idling may not be the first thing you think of when looking for ways to cut costs for your business. However, it can be a significant way you’re wasting fuel. Idling harms the environment and contributes to air and noise pollution. Fleet vehicles spend more time idling than you may think. Let’s discuss the basics of truck idling, what it costs your business, and how you can prevent it.
What is Truck Idling?
Put simply, idling is when a vehicle’s engine is running, but the wheels aren’t moving or are moving at a speed of less than 1 mph. For commercial vehicles, this means a period of non-productivity. Of course, there are valid reasons for idling, such as a breakdown or unscheduled maintenance, but there are also times when your fleet can avoid idling.
Why Does Idling Occur?
The US Department of Energy reports that a long-haul truck idles about 1,800 hours per year and uses about 1,500 gallons of diesel. Idling vehicles use about 0.8 gallons of fuel per hour, not to mention the unnecessary wear and tear on engines and air and noise pollution.
There are several reasons why trucks may be idling, including:
- Encountering traffic or toll booths
- During loading or unloading
- While processing paperwork
- While a driver is talking on the phone
- During downtime, while the driver eats or sleeps
- If the interior of the vehicle needs warming or cooling
What Does Idling Cost?
The average truck consumes about $70,000 worth of fuel annually. About 8% of that fuel is wasted on idling. That amounts to $5,600. The more trucks you have, the faster that number adds up. Tracking fuel and idling become critical to saving on these costs.
We mentioned earlier that idling causes unnecessary wear and tear on your vehicles, and it’s true. In particular, it increases the number of oil changes that you’ll need. That’s wasteful downtime and can lead to costly repairs, both problems that cost your business money.
The effect of idling isn’t only felt in your business’s wallet. It also reaches the environment. The Department of Energy estimates that idling results in “the emission of about 11 million tons of carbon dioxide, 55,000 tons of nitrogen oxides, and 400 tons of particulate matter annually in the U.S.” These emissions lead to the acceleration of climate change and diminish your community’s air quality.
How to Reduce Idle Time
Of course, you can’t be in the truck with your drivers, reprimanding them every time they idle unnecessarily. But you can use technology to track idle time. Telematics is a technology that tracks data about vehicle location and engine status. You can process data from idling events and detect patterns in your drivers’ behavior. With fleet management software, you can even generate reports that tell you detailed information regarding fuel usage and idling time. This data will help you make critical decisions that reduce your fleet’s idle time.
You can also harness route optimization software to maximize your efficiency. Route optimization software gets your drivers to their destinations using the least amount of fuel possible, avoiding traffic, tolls, and delays. This will also help reduce your idle time and save money in the long run.
It is also critical to set clear policies on idling and relay them clearly to your employees so they know the importance of the matter. Idling doesn’t only negatively impact your business but your community, and it is important for everyone’s sake to limit it.
Invest in the Best Fleet Tracking Software
If you’re looking for fleet tracking software that can help you reduce idling and get your fleet on track, Azuga is what you need. Azuga can generate the reports you need to make decisions regarding idling in your fleet and has route optimization software that will maximize your fleet’s efficiency. Learn more by speaking with one of our experts for a demo.