There was a time when engine idling was the right thing to do. Decades ago, drivers learned that constantly restarting a gasoline vehicle could drain the startup battery and consume fuel with the start-up process. However, that time is now many generations of vehicles in the past. Today, idling has become the enemy of both efficient fuel use and sustainable city policy. When a gasoline or diesel engine is left to idle, it creates needless pollution and consumes more fuel in 10 seconds than the new and more efficient process of restarting the engine.
In other words, idling is bad. Once, it may have been standard operating procedure. But today, fleets can regain both fuel efficiency and eco-sustainability by minimizing the total number of minutes that your fleet vehicles spend idling every day.
Reasons Not to Idle
- Uses up fuel
- "Ghost Miles" on your engine
- Residue buildup
- Increased risk of vehicle theft
How to Reduce Idling in Your Fleet Routine
If you are ready to reduce the idling of your fleet, there are several methods available to help you change the policy and make that policy change easy for your drivers. We've put together five strategies that can help minimize the time that your fleet vehicles spend idling in parking lots, traffic, or loading docks.
Change Your Standard Operating Procedure and Re-Educate Your Drivers
First, re-train your drivers so they know that idling is non-ideal. It's an old habit that may be difficult to break. However, making everyone aware that idling is no longer the smartest way to operate can help reduce the total number of hours that vehicles spend idling each month.
Use GPS Tracking to Avoid Traffic Idling
If you track the GPS locations of your fleet vehicles, you may note when each one is holding still or moving in a stop-and-go fashion. You can then pair this knowledge with telematics information to determine whether or not the truck engine is running. If the engine is running but the vehicle is moving, you may need to contact the driver to request that they turn off the vehicle and avoid idling incidents in the future.
Add an Auxiliary Engine Just for AC and Heating
If your fleet includes long-distance trucking with sleeper cabins, be sure to include an auxiliary engine just for the AC and heating. This can be a reasonably small engine or battery that uses far less fuel - and creates far less exhaust - than running a bulky truck engine to keep your driver comfortable while the truck is stopped.
Install Auto-Stop Devices to Shut Off Idling
In some cases, it may be appropriate to install a device that automatically shuts off a vehicle that goes untended while idling for a set amount of time. Without the driver's interaction, such as slow traffic, trucks will stop idling and turn off whenever left idling in a parking lot or on a curb while the driver takes care of job business indoors.
Warm Up with Driving Instead of Idling
Lastly, there is some concern about warming up vehicles in the winter. We have found that it is better to warm up vehicles by driving slowly and carefully nearby before embarking on routes rather than idling.
Take Care of Your Fleet with Wilmar
If you are looking for ways to improve your fleet's fuel efficiency and meet your business sustainability goals, addressing the matter of idling can achieve a big step for both objectives. Wilmar Inc can help you with vehicle selection, hardware upfitting, and fleet management solutions.
Contact us to learn more about how Wilmar can assist in optimizing your fleet.