Idling takes place when a vehicle’s propulsion engine runs while the vehicle is not moving. It is a serious issue both financially and environmentally as it wastes fuel (a long-haul heavy duty truck consumes around 0.8 gallons of fuel per hour) and it produces emissions such as NOx and Particulate Matter.
Idling has been prevalent amongst long-haul heavy duty trucks. Drivers are required to take a 10-hour rest period and often they will remain in their trucks which they leave idling in order to provide power for heating and cooling. In addition, trucks will often idle when waiting in lines and when making deliveries in order to keep the engine and cab warm.
Idling is an expensive problem for fleets as a truck that idles 1800 hours per year for overnight “hotel loads” alone will consume about 1440 gallons of fuel, which will cost the fleet $3600 each year when the price of diesel is $2.50 per gallon. This doesn’t even take into account idling in other scenarios. Idling also increases engine wear leading to increased maintenance costs down the line for fleets. Idling also emits a lot of pollutants. The Argonne National Laboratory estimates that rest-period idling consumes 1 billion gallons of diesel fuel per year which leads to emissions of 400 tons of Particulate Matter, 55,000 tons of NOx, and 10 million tons of CO2.
The Clean Cities program’s Idlebox Toolkit has a number of great resources for learning more about idle reduction, calculating your idle reduction savings, engaging and educating others on idling, and for launching idle reduction campaigns. More information on idle reduction and the Clean Cities Idlebox Toolkit may be found here.