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  • How to ensure idle reduction and save money for your fleet

    When a driver leaves a vehicle’s engine running without actually moving it is known as idling and can waste millions of litres of fuel each year. Not only can reducing idling time help with reducing the costs of fuel, but it can also reduce engine wear and maintenance and increase the lifetime of the vehicle. Idling is also unnecessarily contributing to additional carbon emissions that could be cut significantly if different technologies and practices were put in place. A reduction in idling practices can mean reduced vehicle downtime, an improved resale value of the vehicle and an overall improved company image.

    Idling a vehicle is particularly wasteful when adopting behaviour such as sitting in a queue for long periods of time where the engine is not switched off.

    Warming the engine by sending revs through it before moving is also a commonly conducted misconception as these days most vehicles actually warm faster by being driven than by running the engine in an idling state. But more often than not, fleet managers will often discover that drivers simply sit in their vehicle whilst it is running on lunch breaks, whilst making phone calls or whilst completing paperwork or making a delivery. Some will even idle the engine when fuelling their vehicle, going through a car wash or waiting at security gates simply through habit... and habits can be changed.

    Vehicle Idling while fleet driver on phoneWhilst many occurrences of idling are for small periods of time, over time these all add up, particularly when you are running a large fleet. By introducing an idle reduction policy you can achieve an overall goal of improved driver behaviour which in turn encourages safer driving, less risk and even reduced fleet insurance premiums. Cutting your CO2 emissions is also high on everyone’s agenda, enhancing your corporate identity and saving money in many different areas.

    Firstly your fleet drivers need to be educated and be aware in terms of turning off their vehicles when they are not moving, identifying alternative power sources and non-vehicle solutions where possible. An idle reduction policy should be adopted within your business with constant reminders and incentives to reduce idling time and make continuous efforts towards this. A daily idling limit should be set, such as a maximum of 10 minutes per route per day and consistent awareness and training programs put in place.

    Heavy duty vehicles can utilise on board equipment to be used at truck stops, roadsides and delivery sites. Portable power units can be used for heating and powering electrical devices without needing to idle the vehicle. Some stops will also provide electrical power in rest areas which should be utilised where possible.

    Telematics systems are a good way of tracking your driver’s idling time and help you to begin to understand where particular routes, drivers, or vehicles are causing problems. An idling car could waste up to 2.5 litres of fuel an hour and over a day, week or month the time spent idling significantly adds up. Ideally if your drivers think they may be stopped in their vehicle for longer than 3 minutes then they should be turning their engine off to save wasted fuel and carbon emissions.

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