Vehicle idling can be a lethal problem for both the business and the environment. But you can use GPS tracking software to get rid of that idling in your fleet.
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As a business owner, you know that every minute and every unit of your resources counts. If you are wasting any of them on something that can be easily avoided, you will not like any of your progress reports.
So, what is the number one thing that is guzzling the most time, energy, fuel, money, and credibility from your fleet business?
Yes – something seemingly so small and insignificant makes a huge impact on your fleet, and you will learn why and how in this blog!
What is Idle Time or Vehicle Idling?
In the simplest of terms, vehicle idling or idle time is the amount of time when the vehicle’s engine is running, but the vehicle itself is not moving.
In industries like trucking, logistics, construction, and transportation, vehicle idling is a common occurrence. And that is because drivers have to frequently load or unload consignment or wait at traffic signals. Other non-driving activities also amount to a huge chunk of idle time in a fleet.
A great way to identify idle time is by gauging the RPM (Revolution Per Minute) of an engine. Since the average is 1500 RPM to 3000 RPM, anything less than 1100 RPM is a clear indicator that the vehicle has been idling a lot. This means that the engine is working much more than it should in comparison to vehicle movement.
However, with the advancement of technology and adaptation of IoT for fleet management, the best way now to know if a vehicle is idling is simple – GPS tracking! But we’ll talk about it in some later section.
What Are Some Common Reasons For Idling?
Vehicle idling is something that happens so frequently in the fleet industry that it can never be reduced to 0%. It is often unavoidable and cannot always be penalised. However, by understanding why exactly your vehicles are idling, you can find ways to reduce the occurrence significantly.
Here are some common reasons why vehicles might be idling in your fleet:
Traffic Congestions: The primary culprit in this game is traffic. But it cannot always be avoided. When drivers find themselves stuck in traffic, they tend to idle instead of turning the engine on and off frequently.
Unscheduled Stops: Little things such as road accidents, road closures, toll booths, and other emergency situations also increase idling. These unscheduled stops are such that the driver cannot turn off the engine and wait since there is no saying when and how much the traffic will move, adding on to idle time in your fleet.
Weather Conditions: While this might sound extreme, it does happen a lot in fleet businesses. When the outside temperature is too high or too low, drivers have to idle for a while to balance and normalise the cabin temperature.
Mechanical Breakdowns: Drivers might have to idle the vehicle for a while if their vehicle breaks down. Some mechanical issues need the engine to be on to solve, and there is no way to mitigate this problem.
Loading and Unloading: Sometimes loading and unloading might take a lot of time and drivers might end up idling. However, this can be easily obviated if the drivers are careful not to do so.
Immobile Tasks: Especially in construction sites, several vehicles have immobile tasks and idling is inevitable. In such cases, it is important to know when to not look into idle time as a metric.
What is the Impact of Excessive Idle Time?
Excessive vehicle idling can be extremely detrimental for your fleet. Let us look at some of its negative impacts in detail below:
Inflated Fuel Costs: The largest cost of idling for a fleet is on the fuel consumption. The engine is consuming fuel but not actually moving – all of it is wastage! And this wastage can add up quickly, especially for businesses with large fleets. According to the U.S. The Department of Energy, idling for just10 minutes per day wastes over 26 gallons of fuel per year.
Damage to Vehicles: Idling causes a buildup of carbon and other deposits in the engine. Therefore, the engine is led to have a decreased engine performance and increased wear and tear. Compounded over some time, idling minimises engine life and increases the maintenance and repair expenses in the fleet while depreciating assets quickly.
Is Engine Idling Worse Than Restarting Your Engines?
As we mentioned earlier, several drivers end up idling instead of having to turn the engine on and off frequently. You will read a lot of blogs and reports about how bad frequent restarting can be for your fleet. However, in fact, no matter how bad restarting the engine is, idling is worse.
You may be wondering if it’s better to leave the engine running when you know that you’ll be driving again soon rather than starting it again. The answer is no.
So, tell your drivers that even if they have to stop for only 15 seconds at a toll booth or in traffic, turn the engine off!
How to Reduce Idle Time in Fleet With Fleet Monitoring Systems?
As you know by now, idle time is a huge problem in fleets. And by large, it cannot be completely removed from your operations, but it definitely can be controlled. At least, the unnecessary kind should be eliminated using fleet tracking software, right?
Train Drivers Well With Driver Behavior Management System
It helps to provide drivers with personalised training that is tailored to their specific needs. Targeted training for an idling driver would focus on the issues with idling and would instruct turning off the engine even if the pausing for 10 seconds. This type of training can help drivers understand the impact of their behaviour on the overall efficiency of the fleet.
Look Out For ‘Idle Zones’ Through Real-time Tracking and Monitoring
Real-time tracking and monitoring have become essential tools for fleet managers who need to keep their vehicles moving efficiently and effectively. They can help fleet managers identify idle zones. And this is important because idle zones can easily be avoided with better supervision and training. But if left unresolved, they lead to increased fuel consumption, higher maintenance costs, and reduced vehicle lifetimes.
Another reason why real-time tracing is important to get a hang of idle zones through real-time tracking is to understand how often a driver comes into a zone. With a mix of driver behaviour monitoring and real-time tracking, you might even be able to uncover some unauthorised use of the vehicle.
Map Out The Right Paths With Route Planning Software
Route planning software is crucial for any fleet-centric business owing to its potency in saving resources. This solution helps in reducing idling in collaboration with real-time tracking. It essentially finds and builds routes in a manner that they avoid as many idling zones as possible.
What’s more is that the top telematics solutions also help build dynamic route plans according to any situational changes on the road, such as traffic etc.
Take Vehicle Maintenance Seriously
Building better vehicle maintenance schedules is crucial to reduce idling on the road? Why? Because bny avoiding situations such as overheating the engine, deflated tyres, failing sensors, etc., you can save a lot of time on the road in terms of maintenance.
What’s more is that you might actually save a lot of idling time since drivers do not have to wait for mechanics while cranking up the AC on the car without moving an inch.
To reduce the cost of fueling, reducing idling is a must, and how you can reduce idling through fuel management is by incentivising the least fuel consumption for each driver.
In fact, this incentivising will combat multiple issues such as idling, fuel pilferage, bad vehicle maintenance, etc.
With the help of fuel management systems, not only can managers get a clear picture of how much fuel is consumed by vehicles, but can also understand the real cost of idling through a simple compassion of fuel consumption between an idling and a non-idling vehicle.
Vehicle idling or idle time is an issue that you need to find a solution to no matter what. After all, even slight idling can cost you way too much time, money, and resources. And you don’t want your business to be responsible for environmental damage, right?
So, the right way to reduce idle time in your fleet and combat all its negative effects is by using vehicle tracking systems.
With powerful solutions like route planning solutions, fuel monitoring solutions, and real-time tracking, you get to minimise idling and its adversity. So, what are you waiting for? Get your demo for TrackoBit now!