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Lowering Engine Idle Time Can Help Reduce Fleet Costs

By Tim Tyler February 2, 2020

Are your drivers trying to beat the summer heat by sitting in idling trucks with the air conditioning blasting? Employee satisfaction is key to retaining good drivers, but excessive idling may be costing you more than you think.

Unnecessary idling wastes fuel and increases maintenance costs. Here'۪s what you need to know to help save money at the pump and extend the life of your vehicles this summer.

Top costs of excessive idling.

Many drivers keep their engines running to power heating and cooling systems during lunch breaks, or while they'۪re interacting with customers.

But idling comes at a cost.

Many trucks idle up to eight hours per day. This costs fleet owners and operators $5,000 to $12,000 in fuel per truck each year, according to Engines Off!, a Colorado government campaign to reduce vehicle idling.

Excessive engine idling can also increase maintenance costs for your fleet, according to the New England region of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

  • Idling causes more damage than stopping and starting an engine.
  • The American Trucking Association estimates that idling can increase maintenance costs by $2,000 per vehicle per year and shorten the life of an engine.
  • Idling causes twice as much wear and tear on internal parts as driving at normal speeds.

Excessive idling is against the law in many jurisdictions.

Excessive idling isn'۪t just an expensive practice. It'۪s against the law in many places around the country, according to the American Transportation Research Institute.

In an effort to reduce air pollution, eighteen states have passed anti-idling laws. California, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Vermont, Virginia and West Virginia impose fines of up to $25,000 for breaking anti-idling laws. Idling is also regulated on a local level in more than 80 cities and counties.

Regulations vary, but most jurisdictions allow a maximum of either three or five minutes of idling. Several districts, such as Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, provide no exemptions.

In many ways, decreasing idle time is a win-win. It can save your organization money while helping to improve the air quality where your vehicles operate.

Tips to help reduce idle time.

Reducing idle time starts with your drivers. There are small behavioral adjustments they can make that could add up to big savings for your business. These include turning off engines when vehicles are not in motion, following manufacturer recommendations for minimum warm-up time and obeying local anti-idling laws.

Fleet owners and operators can also lower idle time with Verizon Connect'۪s fleet tracking software. Verizon Connect offers several ways to manage your vehicles and their drivers:

  • Alerts. Receive notifications via email or text message when any vehicle in your fleet idles over a period of time you choose, exceeds a speed you set, enters or exits a geofence or operates a vehicle during unauthorized hours.
  • Reports. Help manage driver behavior with informative, customizable reports about idle time, speed violations, stops, routes and more.
  • Vehicle performance. Monitor fuel economy, fuel efficiency trends and the speeding history of every vehicle in your fleet.
  • Maintenance alerts. Help lower costs with a preventive maintenance program. Receive automatic engine diagnostic alerts, track service records and set reminders for oil changes, tune-ups and other routine maintenance.
  • Safety management. Help protect your vehicles and drivers with safety management tools like emergency roadside assistance, vehicle theft alerts and remote monitoring. Help protect your drivers from false claims by monitoring time of arrival, speed and more.
  • A good way to get drivers excited about reducing idle time is to incentivize responsible behavior. Creating a contest, with a reward for the driver with the lowest idle time, can help reduce idling and create a culture that promotes efficiency.

Better manage your fleet idling costs with Verizon Connect.


Tim Tyler

Tim Tyler joined the team in 2015 and is responsible for product positioning and voice of market (VOM) in order to affect the way the marketing team connects and communicates with customers.

Tags: Cost control, ELD & Compliance, Performance & Coaching, Safety, Team Management, Vehicle Maintenance

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