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Fleet Idling: How Real-Time GPS Tracking Technology Can Help

Category:GPS Tracking Technology

kadminJuly 07, 2022

A fleet’s overall performance is highly dependent on vehicle efficiency. Data shows that on-road vehicles account for roughly 60% of total US oil consumption and over a quarter of the country’s Green House Gas (GHG) emissions.

According to the US Department of Energy, a conventional vehicle will suffer a 10% to 20% fuel economy loss in city driving compared to highway driving. For hybrids, fuel economy may decrease by 20% to 40% in city driving. Also, the United States Environmental Protection Agency identifies that a conventional truck (made between 1980 and 2001) consumes 0.80 gallons per hour of diesel fuel and emits 140 grams/hour of NOx and 8,200 grams/hour of CO2.

For fleet owners, vehicle costs and productivity are two key concerns. Top that with more frequent stops, increased idle times and fuel use, and additional miles driven, the challenges become harder to overcome.

Considering the hazardous road conditions on snow-covered highways during winter, safety is another crucial factor. This makes vehicle maintenance crucial as fleets take a beating during extreme weather conditions. In such a scenario, a GPS tracker for vehicles can come in handy. Not only do they help fleet owners track real-time vehicle data (such as location, miles driven, and more), but informed decisions can also be made based on the data, ensuring smooth operation across fleets.

Fuel Consumption During Engine Idling

Idling for prolonged periods causes large amounts of fuel to be wasted. Researchers at the Argonne National Laboratory have noted that if every vehicle in the USA idles for about 6 minutes every day, about 3 billion gallons of fuel are wasted annually (Argonne National Library). In fact, more than 10 seconds of idling wastes more fuel than starting up the engine.

There are different factors that may affect the idling fuel consumption rate including engine temperature, idling speed, ignition timing, and combustion efficiency, among others. The age of a vehicle may also have an impact on the idling fuel consumption rate.

Emissions from prolonged idling are an issue that needs a more systematic solution. Using an Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) to get access to electricity while not driving is another method to expel idling in diesel engines.

Factors Affecting Fuel Economy

  1. ✔ According to the US Department of Energy, hazardous driving conditions during winter can significantly reduce fuel economy for vehicles. This makes it especially harder for commercial fleets in certain regions of the States because fleets are responsible for more stops and longer idle times during the winter months.
  2. ✔ Speeding, rapid acceleration, harsh braking and more can affect the gas mileage of a vehicle. Moreover, excessive idling can also cause fuel economy to be affected.
  3. ✔ Carrying excessive weight also affects fuel economy.
  4. ✔ Driving at a higher speed tends to increase aerodynamic drag, lowering the fuel economy of a vehicle.

Why Drivers Idle?

Idling behavior falls under two categories, including “idling for power”, and “idling out of habit”. Some drivers idle out of a belief that idling uses less fuel than stopping and restarting. Some believe that extra starts will wear out the battery soon. Reducing such idling can surely lead to reduced fuel consumption and emissions reductions.

Many long-haul sleeper trucks idle overnight to provide “hotel load”—heating, cooling, and electricity for drivers taking their mandated rest periods. Researchers at Argonne National Laboratory estimates that rest-period idling of long-haul sleeper trucks consumes up to 1 billion gallons of fuel annually at a cost of roughly $3 billion. The associated emissions consequences for CO2 are 10 million tons annually. Extended idling also occurs at loading docks and border crossings, where trucks must wait for prolonged periods in queues.

Introducing Real-Time GPS Tracking Technology

While drivers often leave their vehicles idling out of habit, the challenge is when fleet drivers idle because they need power while being stationary. In such scenarios, advising them against idling does not work. A real-time GPS tracking technology solution, therefore, is needed to keep track of idling patterns and come up with ways to reduce idling in a cost-effective way.

When you get a bird’s eye view of your fleet’s daily operation, you know how to reduce fuel costs (for example: by reducing excessive idling), increase productivity, and make the most of your business. So, if you are interested in increasing fleet visibility with the Vyncs connected car tracking device, get in touch with us today!

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