There are several costs associated with commercial vehicles and fuel is easily one of the leading expenses. Thankfully, fleets can do a lot to reduce how much fuel they consume, driving down costs and bolstering the fleet’s bottom line. Idling is one of the top fuel draining activities that has numerous hidden expenses. When the truck is running but the wheels aren’t moving, drivers lose more than just fuel money.

Why are Truck Drivers Idling?

Truck drivers know idling burns through their fuel, which begs the question: Why are they idling in the first place? Some of the most common reasons trucks idle include:

  • Waiting to load or unload their trucks
  • Traffic jams and tollbooths
  • Stopping to process documentation
  • Stopping to use the phone
  • Stopping to eat or sleep
  • Waiting for the cab to warm up

Some of these things are out of driver’s control, such as traffic or load times. However, drivers can take steps to reduce other instances of idling such as turning off the vehicle when stopping to use the phone or eat. Many drivers keep the vehicle running to utilize the A/C or heater depending on the season, but this consumes a significant amount of fuel.

The True Cost of Idling

While idling for a few minutes to make a quick phone call may not seem like much, the expense adds up faster than drivers realize. For example, a truck than uses $70,000 in fuel per year can use up to eight percent of it on idling—that’s $5600 of wasted fuel. For larger fleets with dozens if not hundreds of vehicles, this number can get up into tens of thousands each month.

However, fuel isn’t the only cost of idling. Idling increases the rate of wear on engines, meaning they will need more maintenance on an accelerated timeline. This also increases the amount of time a truck is out of operation to receive maintenance and potential repairs, contributing to increased operational expenses.

Fleets can’t begin to control an expense until they get a firm grasp on the data. Utilizing telematics can tell fleets how often their trucks idle, for what duration, and why they’re idling. This can help fleets identify avoidable idling and take steps to reduce it. Contact the experts at DriverCheck to learn more about trucking telematics can improve your bottom line.