The Costs of Idling

by Jun 11, 2018Fleet Management, Telematics

Idling is a common occurrence for personal and fleet vehicles alike. Many drivers leave their vehicles idling to cool them down during hot summer days or heat them up during the winter. For fleet drivers, idling can also occur when meeting with clients, picking up cargo, talking on the phone, filling out paperwork, or even sitting in traffic. Though leaving a vehicle running for a few minutes may not seem important, idling costs can drastically affect your budget. To see how you might be losing money through this often overlooked issue, read through our list of the most common costs of idling below.

1. Fuel

Research has found that the average fleet vehicle idles through about 25% of its workday, creating an additional fuel cost of $2,500 to $12,000 per year, depending on the vehicle. With fuel prices continuing to rise throughout the nation, unnecessary idling is a cost most fleets can’t afford to ignore. Though idling during traffic is often unavoidable, you can significantly reduce your fuel budget by training your drivers to shut the vehicle off when parked.

2. Maintenance

While idling doesn’t seem to affect your vehicles’ health, it can actually cause the same amount of damage to internal parts as driving at average speeds for the same amount of time. The American Trucking Association has estimated that idling can increase a vehicle’s maintenance costs by up to $2,000 per year. An hour of idling, for example, can add about 80 miles worth of wear to your vehicle’s engine, shortening the time between oil changes and other maintenance needs. Along with direct maintenance costs, idling can shorten the life of your fleet, forcing you to replace vehicles faster than you should and further increasing budgetary demands.

3. Pollution

Whether you support environmental protections or not, idling-caused pollution is still a concern. In 18 U.S. states — California, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Vermont, Virginia, and West Virginia — idling can incur fines of up to $25,000. Training your drivers to limit idling to less than 5 minutes can protect your company from these unnecessary costs and also improve the air quality of your home city and state. To reduce the costs of idling for your fleet vehicles, consider a telematics option that monitors and prevents this issue.

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