As someone who works daily in the GPS Fleet Tracking space, I’m all-too aware of how much fuel is wasted by vehicles regularly by idling. Plus I’m very sensitive to it when walking around in the Phoenix area where I live. Just like that kid in Sixth Sense saw dead people, I see idling people. And GPS tracking generally helps them all.
I saw a TRULY DRAMATIC example of how much fuel is wasted while I was idling the other day — when trying to return a rental with a full tank after only having driven it for about 25 miles (from the airport to our office in Orange, with a side trip to the mall & back for lunch).
I used Google Earth to get a feel for how many miles it takes to move the needle on a full tank of gas on a rental car:
I was coming to the airport, & needed to fill up the tank to return the car. But I could NOT find a gas station. I was running late so I just brought the vehicle back, knowing it would cost me $9.65 per gallon if I didn’t fill it if and the fuel gauge fell below F, where it had been all day.
When I pulled into the garage it was still on “F” — I parked and left the vehicle running since I know they need to view the odometer & fuel before cashing me out for my receipt.
I literally sat there and watched for about 2 minutes while the needle dropped from F to 7/8th of a tank! Right in front of my eyes. Arggggg!
Of course, I realize that the needle isn’t 100% accurate, but idling for that 2 minutes was all that needle needed to drop back down to where it belonged — definitely not F after 25 miles in an SUV.
It was a Chevy Tahoe with a 26 gallon tank. At $9.65 per gallon “refill” rate at the rental company, those 2 minutes idling was going to cost me over $30!
Luckily my attendant didn’t pay close enough attention and I got away without getting gouged for those 3 gallons of fuel.
Either way, it was a truly poignant way of visualizing the wasted fuel associated with idling.
Here is a graph I made of the # of gallons a fleet of close to 1000 vehicles wastes idling in a month, which considers the LENGTH of the idling:
Essentially, if this client could cut all idling to 15 minutes or less, they could save over $15,000 per month. If they could cut out all idling > 5 minutes, the savings are nearly $28,000. (this is based on an average of $4 per gallon, as half their vehicles are diesel, and half are gasoline).
Interestingly, the WORST offenders of idling, in the 60+ minute category, account for less than $2,000 per month — it’s everyone idling 5 minutes (vs. 1) which really comprises the majority of the wasted fuel which can actually be cut out.
Not every fleet and vehicle function can eliminate idling. PTO sensors help us to distinguish between “true idle” and “working idle” times. But this is food for thought. And a really simple way to pay back almost all of your GPS Tracking expense, if you can enact programs which meaningfully curb idling.
Here are some other articles about idling and how we help customers to reduce or eliminate it.