Updated: Jan 31
As a fleet owner, you know there’s no shortage of factors that can cut into your margins and raise costs. Some costs can’t be avoided — like fuel or necessary repairs — but others can be mitigated to help boost profit and reducing idle time is a comprehensive cost-cutting approach to consider.
It’s easy to take truck HVAC systems and other features for granted until it’s time to look at how much extra fuel it costs to keep your AC running and engine idling. Something as simple as letting a truck idle overnight to stay warm can add thousands of dollars to fuel costs yearly, a bill that adds up during the times when gas is the most expensive.
Reducing idle time doesn’t just cut fuel costs. Your vehicles and equipment won’t be subjected to wear and tear that can lead to repairs or replacement. Delivery routes will also be optimized, making sure you’re deploying vehicles efficiently. The list of benefits go on, but between fuel and maintenance, fleet owners tend to spend plenty of their budget there..
While investing in or upgrading your idle reduction tech is always a smart business move, it’s simply not enough. Because a driver’s truck cab should be as close to home as possible, they need to also understand that the refrigerator, sleep apnea machine, or other devices they use on the road can significantly impact idle time.
Beyond education, drivers need to buy in and actively use the tips and tech to help cut back on idle time. Keep them involved in the process by incentivizing fuel savings or reduction rates. Show them the data that points towards improvement and ROI. Using tools that provide real-time data can offer remote managers on-the-spot opportunities.
APUs might be the answer
If vehicles aren’t moving, they’re essentially getting the worst gas mileage they can — 0 mpg. That means that if truck wheels aren’t moving but the truck is running, you’re running through fuel and raising your per-gallon costs. Auxiliary power units help take over when you’re looking to reduce idling, and while they’re not new on the scene, recent tech has made them much more sophisticated.
Take time doing research when shopping for APUs; depending on truck capacity and maintenance needs (among other factors) this choice shouldn’t be made lightly to see any real value in idle reduction. Crunch the numbers carefully so you know exactly how much fuel savings you can see by implementing APU use.
Tech for the win
According to the EPA, an idling reduction tech solution is defined by three main characteristics: It’s installed on a vehicle or at a location, it reduces unnecessary main engine idling of the vehicle, and provides services to the vehicle or equipment “that would otherwise require the operation of the main drive engine while the vehicle or equipment is temporarily parked or remains stationary.”
Investing in and implementing idle reduction tech in trucks almost seems like a no-brainer, but the upfront costs can give any finance-savvy fleet manager pause. In addition, there are so many options available it’s difficult to compare the benefits and disadvantages of each. Does it provide real-time data? What about remote management? Is it easy to install and use? Make sure to ask plenty of questions and along the way.
Take it off the truck
Over 5000 US truck stops offer electrification although must trucks offer an AC power adaptor. Truck stop electrification isn’t always an option, but planning routes accordingly can help drivers combine fuel-saving and idle time reduction strategies with available electrification. Instead of idling during rest areas to control in-cab features and HVAC systems, drivers plug up and turn the engine off.
If a fleet contains vehicles that don’t have AC power adaptors for electrification it’s time to upgrade. Beyond fuel cost savings and idle time reduction, it’s an added bonus to the residents living around truck stops and high-traffic trucking hubs that they won’t have so much exposure to idling trucks.
Even with taking these steps to reduce idle time, it can be difficult to track efforts unless you have an idle reduction solution that’s easy to use and offers data organized in a way that fleet managers can best use and apply it to their cost-savings systems.
It’s time to stop wondering if drivers are working to reduce idle time and increase fuel savings. Explore IdleSmart solutions, which include remote management, integration with battery-powered APUs, and customized data delivery. Let’s talk more about IdleSmart and how it can transform fleets that are struggling to cut costs.
Interested in reducing the idle time of your fleet? Check out the Idle Smart Services and calculate how much fuel cost you could be saving!