Idle Reduction

no idling signDefining “idling”

“Idling” refers to anytime a vehicle’s engine is running and the vehicle isn’t moving. Allowing a vehicle’s engine to run while the vehicle is parked is known as “park idling”, which wastes a great deal of fuel and causes undue wear and tear on the vehicle’s engine.

How much does it cost?

So how can we quantify the cost of allowing a vehicle to idle while parked? The EPA reports that compared to driving normally, idling can double the amount of wear and tear on engine components. This wear and tear can result in nearly $2,000 of extra maintenance costs in addition to shortening a vehicle’s engine life1. When combined with excess fuel costs, the cost of park idling can be significant per vehicle, and much larger when applied to an entire fleet.

According to Natural Resources Canada, idling wastes 0.1585 gallons of fuel per hour per liter of engine displacement2. So a Ford E-450 with a 6.8 L Triton V10 consumes 1.07 gallons per hour of idling—meaning a vehicle that is park idling for one hour a day consumes nearly 267.5 gallons of fuel over the course of a year, wasting almost $600 per year at current fuel prices. At this conservative estimate, a fleet of 50 vehicles could be wasting nearly $30,000 per year3—just with one hour a day of park idling per vehicle!

Environmental cost

These figures do not take into account the environmental costs of emissions coming from the vehicle’s tailpipe while idling. In order to lower the amount of CO2 and NOX emitted during idling and to lower fleets’ costs associated with idling, Lightning Hybrids has developed the Park Idle Shutoff technology. The LH Park Idle Shutoff integrates with the LH Energy Recovery System (ERS) to save more fuel and reduce more emissions than the ERS alone.

Lightning Hybrids Park Idle Shutoff

Available on certain vehicle platforms, LH Park Idle Shutoff technology turns off the engine at some interval (usually 15 seconds) after the vehicle is placed in “Park”. It will then automatically restart then engine once the driver presses the brake pedal, as they would when preparing to move out of “Park.”

Note that there are circumstances where the engine will not be shut off; for example, if the battery’s voltage is too low, or the hood is open, or the cabin’s temperature is too hot or cold.

In this way, the ERS can save fuel and reduce emissions even when the vehicle is not moving.

Telematics can help too

Our telematics solution can generate regular reports on the performance and behavior of the hybridized vehicles in your fleet. Among the metrics reported is idle percentage, which lets you see just how much idling each vehicle is doing. Armed with this knowledge, you can incentivize your drivers to idle less.

Sources

  1. https://www3.epa.gov/region1/eco/diesel/pdfs/Diesel_Factsheet_Truck_Idling.pdf
  2. http://www.nrcan.gc.ca/energy/efficiency/communities-infrastructure/transportation/idling/4457
  3. 1.07 gallons/hour x 1 hour/day = 1.07 gallons/day ; 1.07 gallons/day x 5 days/week x 50 weeks/year = 267.5 gallons/year ; 267.5 gallons/year x $2.24/gallon x 50 vehicles = $29,960 per year