The True Cost Of Idling

This article was published on: 12/12/16 by the Robert Hall

Do your drivers think that idling is not a big deal? Have they said, “it’s just a few minutes” when they return to the office to grab something they forgot, and leave the truck in idle? All of those minutes running the engine without productive activity are using fuel and increasing wear and tear on the vehicle. Studies have found that an hour of idling uses a minimum of a half-gallon of fuel. Over time, that equates to a lot of money out of your budget — especially if your fleet uses multiple vehicles. Understanding the true cost of idling is essential if you are going to protect your fleet’s budget.

Wasted Fuel Adds up to Big Bills

Fuel is a major expense for your company, and you need to take measures to protect your budget by limiting fuel use. You are probably already using truck tracking software to optimize routes and limit unnecessary side trips, yet you may be wasting money on one of the easiest driver behaviors to curb — idling.

The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency did a study on the true cost of idling. If you have just one truck in your fleet that spends an average of two hours per day idling, and diesel is $3 a gallon, you are spending $6 a day on that truck. If your fleet has 10 trucks, that costs $60 a day. If you run the truck 275 days per year, the idling time for one truck in your fleet is costing your company an extra $1,650 per year.

Of course, fuel costs vary, as do the number of hours your trucks may spend idling, but those numbers show the significant cost of unnecessary idling time. Across the transportation industry as a whole — with an average fuel cost of $3.50 a gallon — the cost of idling is an astounding $20 billion!

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Do you think that two hours of idling is a little high of an estimate? Take a closer look at common driver behaviors. Do your drivers leave their trucks running in the morning to “warm up?” Can you see drivers checking their maps or cellphones at a delivery site while they wait on a customer, all while the engine is running? A 10-minute break at the gas station, a 20-minute wait on a customer, and a 10-minute warm-up period — these add up quickly!

Put a Stop to Idling with GPS Tracking Software

As you can see, idling is a problem, and a costly one, but it has a fairly simple fix. Most of your drivers will have no trouble adjusting their behavior to limit idling, but they need to be made aware. GPS vehicle tracking can help with this problem.

Today’s truck tracking programs provide more than just vehicle location and speed data. They also provide vehicle activity reports, which can show you important data about driver behavior and the status of your vehicles. These reports will display the times and locations when the vehicle was idling. This will give you the tools you need to re-educate drivers about the costs of idling and put a stop to the behavior.

If you want to take control over your fuel budget and put a stop to wasteful idling behavior, contact Track Your Truck to learn more about GPS tracking software.