A Q&A with Santa, and Fleet Manager Mrs Claus, of North Pole Inc
Drivers who aren’t taught the importance of idle reduction are squandering more than just time when they run the engine. They are also wasting valuable fuel and emitting harmful greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
Idling guzzles fuel at variable rates, but research has shown that over half a gallon of fuel is consumed per hour spent idling.
Fleet managers can educate their drivers by showing the benefits of switching the engine off during these periods that instantaneously lead to a reduction in unnecessary engine operation and presents a cumulative fuel saving opportunity.
Idle reduction is most effective in a fleet that typically uses urban delivery routes with frequent stops. These circumstances are subject to the highest level of idling, accumulated over a number of small occurrences which lead to a substantial idle period over time.
One of the primary advantages of drivers reducing idle time is that it is a low cost initiative that immediately brings savings to a fleet. And educating drivers also comes at a relatively low cost and can be combined with a company’s current driver instruction courses that focus on safety and other issues.
But much like any fuel saving ingenuity that calls for behavior change, it is essential to make certain that there is ongoing training to bring about the cultural transformation necessary to prevent drivers reverting to poor practices.
An additional key challenge relates to the complications that accompany quantifying the fuel saved by way of idle reduction. This is predominantly due to the disparity in idle time that can be imposed by dynamics outside of driver behavior, such as the nature of the delivery route during that day.
The use of a GPS fleet tracking system will help a commercial fleet company overcome this uncertainty by accumulating detailed data, including idle time and fuel consumption. While the installation of these telematics systems does come at a cost, it provides the opportunity to make a well-informed assessment of the fuel savings and emissions benefit of reducing idle time.