How to Reduce Idling Engine Fuel Consumption
Although idling can help drivers maintain a comfortable temperature inside their sleepers during harsh weather, it’s a drain on profits. If your truck is stopped and idling for an hour, you’ll lose a gallon of gas, which puts additional strain on your truck’s engine and the environment. Idling engine fuel consumption increases with engine speed, so whether you drive a used truck or own a fleet, it’s important to choose a low idle speed. What can be done to reduce idle time and improve fuel-efficiency? Read on to learn more!
How Can Idle Time Be Controlled?
There are a variety of systems and technologies available to ensure the best possible fuel economy, as well as optimal comfort inside your truck:
- Auxiliary Heater: Auxiliary heaters often come with a compact, diesel-powered motor that heats the engine block, as well as the cab and sleeper. You can also use an auxiliary heater to pre-heat your truck’s main engine before venturing into cold weather. These heaters use a small amount of fuel, especially compared to what’s used during idling.
- Auxiliary Power Units (APUs): APUs are usually battery-powered or diesel-powered. The units with diesel-powered motors are smaller. These units can provide virtually unlimited heating and air conditioning, creating a more comfortable interior for the driver and reducing idling in the process.
- Battery-Powered HVAC System: Another option is a battery-powered HVAC system. One of these systems can help maintain a comfortable temperature inside the cab and sleeper ranging from 0 to 100 degrees F. Using powerful and fast-charging batteries, these systems can recharge in as little as two hours.
- Battery Management Systems (Auto Stop/Start): Battery management systems are ideal for managing no-idle loads and work in tandem with battery-powered HVAC systems. They can automatically start the engine with a low battery or if engine temperatures drop below normal. Additionally, they’re helpful when it comes to enforcing idling policies automatically, requiring no need for driver input.
- Idle Shutdown Timer (IST): With an idle shutdown timer, you don’t need to worry about shutting down the engine after a certain amount of time — the timer will do it for you. ISTs perform an engine idle shutdown after three to five minutes. To restart the engine, you can depress the clutch and turn the key in the ignition as you normally would.
- Cold Ambient Protection (CAP): During cold weather, CAP helps keep the engine and engine coolant warm by increasing idle engine rpm as necessary.
- Idle Shutdown Timer/CAP Interaction: ISTs work with CAP. If CAP is operating in cold weather, the IST won’t activate and shut the engine down.
Learn More About Semi Truck Fuel Economy from International Used Truck Centers!
Semi truck fuel economy is affected by a number of factors — not just idling. Aerodynamics, as well as eco-friendly tips like reducing truck weight, planning your route ahead of time, and using your gears wisely, play equally important roles. Contact us at International Used Truck Centers for more information about idling engine fuel consumption and what you can do to make your rig more fuel-efficient on the roads.