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As the forecast increase in diesel fuel costs looms, an effective engine idling time management program might give your fleet a competitive edge in the next year.

Engine idling time has historically been difficult to measure. For the most part, fleet managers have had to assume that a running truck is a productive truck.

By studying data collected by an electronic engine controller, however, fleet managers can significantly reduce fuel consumption by adjusting their driver call-out and operating procedures without affecting the engine's operation. On-board computers not only adjust fuel-consumption rates to match performance requirements, they also record and document how the truck is operated minute by minute.

By downloading the information with special software, producers can monitor engine rpm and indirectly calculate the resulting fuel usage.

Start by being sure drivers know how electronic engines operate in cold weather.

What else can fleet managers do to prepare an engine idling time reduction plan?

  • Analyze last season's engine data.
  • Study engine data using selected drivers for a week.
  • If you have global positioning, alert the dispatcher of idling more than 15 minutes, and have the driver explain the reason for the long idling time.
  • Install a dashboard device to alert the driver of fuel consumption, rpm and other engine data.
  • Monitor engine and hydraulic pump operating data separately.