The Cost of Even a Few Minutes of Idling Adds Up


Justin Costner, Sales Consultant

If you have worked with or around a fleet of vehicles, you have probably heard that famous line before when it comes to vehicle idling: "It’s just a few minutes." Whether it’s done to warm up or cool down a vehicle or get paperwork ready for a job, idling is something that is often overlooked…while burning a rather large dollar sign-shaped hole in your pocket. All those minutes needlessly running the engine add up over time, especially if you have several vehicles on the road.

Research shows that for every hour a vehicle idles, a half-gallon of fuel is wasted. While a half gallon doesn’t sound like much, factor in the fluctuating fuel prices and those costs start to add up quickly. So, let’s take a good, hard look at what idling may be costing you.

Put your manager’s hat on for this example. Let’s say you are responsible for a fleet of 10 vehicles. Each driver idles their vehicle 10 minutes before AND after each job and completes a total of 5 jobs per day (that’s 100 minutes of idling per day, per vehicle if you’re keeping track). How much fuel is each driver wasting? Good question. On a daily basis, each one of your drivers is burning through about ¾ of a tank of fuel. Multiply that across your entire fleet of 10 vehicles and you’re looking at 7.5 gallons of fuel wasted on job-related idling alone.

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Now, let’s talk about non job-related idling. Remember that 30-minute lunch break each driver takes every day? That could be costing you additional fuel and money. If each of your drivers idles their vehicle for the duration of their 30-minute lunch break while grabbing a bite to eat or running errands, you can safely add 2.5 gallons of wasted fuel to the 7.5 gallons mentioned above. 

Let’s add this all up. 10 gallons of fuel per day are being wasted on idling on a per driver basis which is roughly costing you $20 a day. Each month, idling is costing you about $400 per month (based on a 5-day workweek) and a whopping $5,000 per year! There’s no doubt fuel is a necessary lifeline for your business. Make it a priority to manage idle time, monitor fuel usage and proactively project fuel costs and your bottom line will thank you.

About the Author

Justin Costner is a Sales Consultant working out of Charlotte, NC office and is a 2013 graduate of the University of North Carolina Charlotte with a degree in Economics.

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