There are fleets who have over 50% idle time. That’s money literally blowing out of the stack. In today’s trucking industry, with razor thin margins, owner operators in particular need to get the most out of their fuel.
Excessive idling wastes fuel and the word on the street says fuel isn’t cheap. A truck burns between 0.7 – 1 gallon of fuel every hour while idling. That means you’re burning $3.22 to $4.60 per hour while idling the truck. If you idle your truck for 8 hours a day, and you’re on the road 312 days, you’ll burn $8037 – $11 481 just in fuel alone.
There is additional costs to excessive idling, such as, increased engine wear. Excessive idling can reduce engine life by 20%. We’ve seen figures that 500 hours of idle equals 64 000 miles of wear on an engine. The wear and tear on the engine dramatically increases cost of ownership and can kill your bottom line.
Anti-idle technology is very good these days. There are a variety of solutions to help reduce idling.
The most common is adding an APU. These are great as they provide the cab with heat, power to operate the truck A/C and accessories, and it’s powered by the truck diesel. On the down side, they add weight and they also need regular maintenance. Most drivers find them on the noisy side too.
Another option is bunk heaters. There are different kinds on the market but the most common is electric which runs off of the truck batteries. These units are generally quiet and provide really good heat. On the down side, they’re only a solution for cold temperatures.
There is also solutions which don’t require truck modifications such as IdleAir and Shore Power at some truck stops.
IdleAir is well known in the industry. These are large snake-like tubes that connect to a trucks window. They have an interface on them to provide heat, air, AC power, and internet use. IdleAir has been plagued by financial problems since their beginning and their network is small.
Shore power are power connections in truck parking space to provide in-cab power. Trucks need to be set up to hook up to shore power. Volvo trucks come out of the factory with the necessary connectors to use shore power.
Because you need to rely on another company’s infrastructure neither of these are full time solutions. Shore Power is growing and is most prominent on the west cost from Washington through California.
Trucking companies and owner operators need to find the solution that works best for their fleet to reduce idling. There are huge financial benefits for reducing truck idling. Every 10% decrease in idle time will improve your fuel efficiency by a percent plus reduce maintenance cost due to engine wear. These savings go straight to your bottom line.