Vehicle Engine Idle - How Much Does Idling Use?

Fuel is a big concern for fleets and reducing vehicle engine idle time is on the top of their priority list. Most freight lines work on pennies on the dollar for profit. One of the main job functions of fleet managers is finding ways to lower fleet expenses, and telematics and GPS fleet tracking software offer numerous ways to reduce a fleet’s idle time. Before addressing how GPS fleet tracking can reduce your vehicle idle time, let’s address what exactly idle time is:

What is Vehicle Engine Idling?

Vehicle Idle refers to running a vehicle’s engine when the vehicle is not in motion. Idling occurs when vehicles are stopped at traffic lights, when loading and unloading the truck, when warming up the car and engine in cold weather, when stuck at traffic jams, when waiting on job sites for people and at numerous other instances.

Vehicle idle uses more fuel and produces more emissions that contribute to smog and climate change than stopping and restarting your engine does. Aside from consuming fuel, idling is very bad for the environment as it effects air quality and increases greenhouse gas emission. 

How much fuel do semi trucks use while idling?

Most engines in class 8 trucks in the US use around a gallon of fuel an hour when idling and around 0.64 gallons of diesel fuel per hours when idling with no load. 

How much fuel does a big rig use while idling?

If idling at 650rpm-around .7gal per hour. If idling at 1,000rpm, about 1.1gal per hour.

is the cost of fuel a big issue with freight companies?

As mentioned above, fuel is a big concern for freight companies and fleets as most freight lines work on pennies on the dollar for profit. According to Blair Blakely, an owner operator, fuel is the largest single cost of operation with over $40,000 of his gross income spent on fuel. According to Blake, “If I idle my truck engine for my ten hour break every day I am on the road , it would cost me an additional $7,000 a year for fuel”.

How much does it cost to fuel a semi-truck?

The cost of fuel for a semi-truck depends on how big the tank is, how much fuel costs, and how empty it is. If the semi-truck needs 200 gallons at $3.oo / gallon = $600. 

At this amount, you can see how fuel cost is a big burden for freight companies.

What non-telematics system can be used to avoid idling?
Most companies have put APUs (Auxiliary Power Unit) in the trucks for heating and cooling with the tractor turned off. Those use only a portion of the fuel and let the driver sleep comfortably while keeping things like a fridge or television powered without killing the batteries.
How can GPS fleet tracking help reduce vehicle idle time?

The best GPS fleet tracking software and telematics offer numerous ways to reduce a fleet’s idle time:

  1. Fleet Route Planning– Part of a fleet management software, fleet route planning calculates the best route for a job while taking into consideration intersections, turns, left hand turns, traffic jams and best approach to a stop. This leads to reduced vehicle idle time as driver’s are able to do their job rather than spend their time in traffic jams, route mistakes, or planning out the day’s route.
  2. Engine Idle Time Tracking- A fleet management system monitors engine diagnostics including idle time (in addition to fuel consumption, oil pressure, distance travelled, RPM, and much more). Monitoring the idle time provides you benefits such as visibility and allows you and the driver to get alerts after a certain amount of idling time, prompting the driver to turn off the engine.
  3. Idle Reports- With a GPS tracking software, you can produce reports of engine idle time including driver, truck, location and how long. This valuable information will allow you to pinpoint where the problem area is and implement new idling rules. You can track if idling has gone down over a set period of time.
How Wireless Links can help you reduce vehicle idle time

The GPS fleet vehicle tracking & monitoring system from Wireless Links combines the power of the Fleet.Net vehicle tracking platform with our real-time, plug & play 4G based vehicle tracking devices for monitoring your fleet of vehicles, trucks, trailers or equipment. The system helps fleets increase work flow productivity, reduce fuel costs through reduced idle time, streamline fleet maintenance, improve fleet and driver safety and increase customer satisfaction.

Comprehensive yet simple reporting system allows you to analyze various aspects of your fleet, for example: Stop by Customer, Speed Reports, Idle Time, Driver Logs, State Fuel Reports, Route Reports, and many more.

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