Idling cannot be avoided. However, if left uncontrolled, it can spiral out of control and become a destructive habit, which is especially harmful in fleets where the effect is amplified. Idling in big numbers, especially with larger cars, can have a substantial impact on your bottom line.
Contrary to popular belief, turning off and restarting your automobile or truck consumes no more fuel than letting it run. Some drivers fail to notice that their vehicle is idling. Due to lost fuel, compounded vehicle repair costs, and hefty fines in some nations, regions, and cities, fleet idling can be quite costly to business operations. By focusing on this area, you can dramatically cut your costs, gasoline usage, and emissions.
What is Fleet Idling?
Fleet idling occurs when the driver leaves the engine running while the vehicle is stationary. Drivers may be unable to avoid leaving their vehicles’ engines running if they are trapped in traffic or stopped at a red light—but, as we saw above, there is frequently far more idling than red lights and traffic stops can account for.
Idling can occur in the following situations:
- When a vehicle is being loaded or unloaded
- When a driver is on a phone call
- When a driver is eating/resting
- When a driver is heating or cooling the vehicle during extreme weather
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Impact of Fleet Idling
There are other hazards linked with fleet idling that go far beyond pollution. Here are some issues that you should be cautious of if your vehicle is idling:
- Increased Fuel Costs:
Every company with a large fleet is constantly looking for methods to reduce the cost of fueling their vehicles. However, leaving fleet idling on the road or parked for extended periods of time can drastically raise fuel expenses.
Even when your vehicle is stationary, it consumes fuel. With rising gas prices, you can’t afford to waste petrol by leaving your fleet idling. If you rely on your fleet of cars to transport raw resources and deliver finished goods to customers, you should prioritize reducing vehicle idling.
Installing fleet monitoring systems on your vehicles allows you to monitor your drivers’ conduct to prevent fuel wastage. LocoNav provides the best fleet management technology for limiting vehicle idling and other driving violations.
- Air Pollution
You do everyone around you a tremendous favor by avoiding excessive car idling. Why? When you leave your car idling for an extended period of time, it emits fossil fuel emissions into the atmosphere. These emissions make breathing difficult and can lead to respiratory infections such as bronchitis, respiratory illness, and heart disease.
Idling vehicles contribute significantly to early fatalities in affluent countries. Naturally, you don’t want your company to contribute if it doesn’t have to.
- Increased Maintenance Costs
Fleet idling does far more harm to engines than turning them on and off. Idling also minimizes the time required between oil changes. Frequent vehicle repair also results in increased vehicle downtime, which can have an impact on fleet operations.
- Reduced Engine Lifespan
Idling your vehicle is harmful to its engine. It may appear that leaving your fleet idling for a few minutes saves fuel, but when you consider the damage being done to your engine, it stands to reason to prevent it whenever possible.
When your car is idling, it does not maintain the right temperature. The fuel does not completely burn, significant harm to the fan belts, thermostat, and exhaust system. When fuel is not completely combusted, it leaves some residue behind, which can cost you a lot of money to fix. Turning your car on and off while delayed in traffic may appear stressful, but it has the ability to harm your engine.
4 Ways to Reduce Fleet Idling
Idling can burn a lot of fuel per hour, which is negative for your bottom line, as previously said. It also has a significant environmental impact. Operating a vehicle for longer than necessary incurs the additional cost of generating needless wear and tear, as well as shortening the engine’s life.
Fortunately, there are some options. Here are four strategies for reducing idle time in your fleet, or making your fleet idle-free!
- Use GPS Tracking
By monitoring driver activity and maintaining a log of hours of service (HOS) and how drivers use their vehicles on the job, GPS tracking for commercial vehicles can help with inordinate idling. From here, you can identify harmful habits like frequent idling, giving you the opportunity to solve the issue. LocoNav’s idling alerts can help you take quick action against fleet idling.
Of course, not all idling is caused by poor driving practices. Sometimes traffic jams occur, trapping cars in place without allowing them to simply turn off the motor to save fuel. When your driver’s initial path is impeded by heavy traffic, you can save engine idle time by locating alternate routes, allowing you to divert drivers away from congested highways and onto alternate routes.
- Turn Off the Engine after 15+ Seconds of Idle Time
Restarting a car consumes the same amount of fuel as leaving it idle for any more than 15 seconds. While it’s unlikely that drivers will consent to turn off their engines at long traffic lights, there’s no reason for them to leave them idling in the parking structure while they run an errand or stop by a store for a snack.
- Use Telematics Technology
Idling data is provided by the top telematics solutions, such as LocoNav, so study those figures if you feel there is an issue in your fleet. If it isn’t already included in your fuel records, you should really be able to get it from your provider. The idling reports can help you make the most of your telematics solution. Idling reports can help you determine what drivers are contributing to excessive fuel wastage.
- Incentivize Reduced Idling
Fleet managers can then incorporate the data into their idling reduction strategy. Reward drivers who idle less and provide training to those who strain to do so. Incentives and recognition programs can also be used to provide additional motivation.
The basic conclusion is that telematics may help you handle your fleet more effectively and reliably. Managers may now track fuel usage and idling in real-time, as well as collect data for use in preventative training programs that help drivers reduce idle times.