Idle Reduction and Efficiency

What is Idle Reduction?

Idling vehicles can use up several billion gallons of fuel and emit large quantities of air pollution and greenhouse gases each year. The Transportation Research Board estimates that medium-duty trucks use about 2.5 billion gallons of fuel to idle each year, or 6.7% of the total fuel they consume. The TRB estimates that approximately 650,000 long-haul heavy-duty trucks idle overnight at some point for required rest stops, using more than 685 million gallons of fuel per year in the process. This costs fleets over $2 billion on fuel annually.

The term idle reduction can be used to describe the technologies and practices that reduce the amount of time vehicles idle their engines. Idle reduction technologies and practices are an important way to cut petroleum consumption and emissions. Reducing idle time saves fuel, reduces engine wear, and reduces emissions and noise. It also saves money that would normally be spent on fuel or maintenance work due to engine wear and tear.

A variety of technologies are employed to reduce fuel use. Onboard equipment such as automatic engine stop-start controls and auxiliary power units can be used wherever the vehicle might be. Truck stop electrification enables trucks to hook up to stations that provide power and other amenities. Additional strategies are available for light- and medium-duty vehicles and school buses. The presentations found below from Idle Reduction experts at Argonne National Lab and a representative of one of the leading idle reduction manufacturers can help provide basic information about idling and ways in which you can reduce it within your fleet operations.

Source: Alternative Fuels Data Center.


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