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HIGH fuel prices and the urgent need to reduce CO2 emissions have led to greater focus on the fuel wasted by engines idling unnecessarily.

Tracker Network UK is helping fleet managers to identify instances of idling, so they can provide training that will help drivers reduce fuel consumption and air pollution – as well as the cost of fuel.

Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) study found that HGVs consume up to 21.7g of diesel and emit 68.64g of CO2 whilst idling for one minute. Conducted in 2020, when diesel cost an average of 117.07p per litre, far lower than the cost today, the study found idling would cost 3p per minute in fuel. Using this figure, an HGV idling for just 10 minutes each day of the academic year (190 days) would waste more than £58 worth of diesel.

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Mark Rose, managing director of Tracker, said: “For an entire fleet, the cost of fuel wasted while idling can easily add up to thousands of pounds. What’s more, the wear and tear caused by excessive idling leads to additional maintenance costs and premature vehicle replacement, not to mention the damaging fumes emitted. Idling data provided by our telematics-based fleet management system can help fleets curb these expenses and environmental impact – and avoid idling fines.

“Of course, a certain amount of idling is unavoidable, especially when cargo must be kept at certain temperatures or pressures, or when outside temperatures mean the driver needs to run the engine to maintain a healthy working environment inside the cab. There will also be a certain amount of necessary idling at junctions and in slow moving traffic, but when drivers develop bad idling habits it can cost businesses a significant amount of money and fleet managers should look to reduce such unnecessary costs.”

Telematics-based fleet management systems allow fleet managers to view idling data across the entire fleet and drill down into idling behaviour for each driver. Tracker idling reports include not only the time and location of each idling event but also working idling time and wasted idling time. Reports can be scheduled to run automatically at pre-set intervals and can also be generated manually as needed, and can provide the cost of idling if the cost of fuel per litre is provided.

Long idle alerts can be configured based on idling time parameters set by the fleet manager, who will receive a real-time alert if the parameter is exceeded – for example, if a driver is idle for more than a pre-set 20 or 30 minutes. This allows the fleet manager to address the issue early and reduce the amount of fuel wasted.

Mark Rose continued: “Fleet fuel costs are the number one budget item for many road haulage businesses, accounting for as much as 60% of operating expenses. By reducing idling, fleet managers can stretch their fuel budget further. Idling data from a fleet management system can help enforce idling policies, identify drivers who violate it and reward drivers who set an example of behaviour that’s good for the company and the planet.”

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