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minimize-engine-idle-time-fuel-managementThe federal Environmental Protection Agency says we waste more than 6 billion gallons of diesel and gasoline annually due to excessive idling of cars, trucks and heavy-duty vehicles. With fuel costs continuing to rise and retaining a prominent position in your budget, using a fuel management system to minimize engine idle time is more than just a good idea.

What’s the problem?

Vehicles sit at idle for lots of reasons. Frequent stops for deliveries or congested traffic. Routine traffic stops or emergency scene response. The general course of business activity for construction workers, utility techs, meter readers or any delivery, distribution or  transportation industry fleet. Drivers who are in and out of the cab want to keep the interior comfortably warm or cool.

Legislative bodies around the country have begun to mandate reductions in vehicle emissions in an effort to improve air quality and public health. New York City has specifically targeted engine idle time, so now it’s a compliance issue, not just an economic issue. The good news is that complying with these regulations will save you money, something you can rarely say about government intervention. And it makes you a good neighbor, too.

Using an automated fuel management system to shorten idle times can be a valuable tactic for reducing overall fuel consumption. Every little bit of savings adds up tremendously over a year, resulting in longer vehicle life and more efficient, reliable fleet performance. That means more effective ROI on your capital investment and less frequent replacement of expensive assets.

Do the math.

You already know your bottom line is suffering, but do you know how badly? Consider these statistics:

  • On average, every hour of idling wastes one gallon of gas.
  • Ford reports that for the Crown Victoria, commonly used by police departments, one hours of idling equals 33 hours of drive time.
  • The American Trucking Association says that one hour of idle time each day totals about  64,000 miles of needless engine wear each year. At that rate, if your fleet has just four vehicles and you’re paying $4 per gallon for gas, you’re wasting $7200 per year.
  • With a fleet of 25 vehicles you can save almost 600 gallons a year by reducing each vehicle’s idle time just 15 minutes a day.

Premature engine aging further exacerbates your fuel consumption problems.

A fuel management system helps identify specific problems so you can solve them.

GPS vehicle tracking technology is typically part of a fuel management system. You can monitor and track vehicles to see when the engine is turned on and off and when it’s moving, so you can easily calculate accurate idle times per vehicle.

Some systems allow monitoring of the vehicle’s battery and on-board electronics such as radios, computers or emergency lights. The system can automatically turn the engine on and off, keeping the battery strong enough to maintain adequate function without running the engine unnecessarily.

You can monitor driver behaviors. Eliminating speeding, “rabbit” starts and quick-stops will improve mileage and also encourage your people to become part of the solution.

Your fuel management system will help you monitor route compliance, too. You can optimize routes to drive fewer miles, and with the right technology you can even communicate changes to drivers in the field for maximum efficiency.

No matter what size your operation, you must be able to accurately and completely track fuel usage in order to identify where improvements can be made and get them done soonest. Putting a fuel management system in play ensures you can gather more data, in real time, and evaluate it more effectively.

You can avoid potentially costly fines or penalties, save money by using less fuel and increase driver productivity. Getting more done, more efficiently, means you can generate more revenue. That’s ROI you can measure – tangible benefits based on reduced fuel consumption, thanks to your fuel management system.

Photo Credit: Walmart Corporation

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