By Jake Millan:
I see examples every day of ways fleets can reduce operating costs, while simultaneously reducing carcinogenic emissions, as well as overall petroleum consumption. One of the biggest opportunities to do this is by addressing idle reduction.
The US uses over one billion gallons of diesel in trucks that are by definition “not moving.” Some of that is to power specialized HDVs, and cold weather nights in long haul trucks. These issues are being addressed with hybridized HDVs, and through the electrification of truck stops. The low hanging fruit here is unnecessary idling, which is often done in sensitive air quality nonattainment areas.
For several decades in the diesel engine community, the thought process went like this: “It’s cheaper to burn more diesel fuel, rather than replace the starter.” This thinking occurred when diesel fuel was cheap and batteries were far less powerful than today. Now, once a diesel engine is warm, modern batteries give the starting motor plenty of power to restart the engine easily. Currently, there are several GPS technologies on the market that can inform fleet managers when drivers are idling excessively, speeding, or taking the wrong route. At the very least, talk to your drivers and educate them about the collective benefits of turning your truck off when you are stopped as these seemingly small implementations can make a big difference.
Idle reduction is just one example of innovation by making smarter and more efficient decisions. The time has come to stop doing things because “that’s the way we’ve always done it,” and to start thinking about what makes sense.
Jake Millan works in Business Development for Propel Fuels.