Corporate fleets can be part of the solution

The business community is an essential part of the solution when it comes to eliminating unnecessary vehicle idling in Canada

Although diesel engines are durable and economical, unless they have the newest emissions controls, they are significantly more toxic than gasoline engines and they emit particulate matter, known as soot, nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds(VOC) that are all dangerous toxins. ( See health impact: what is in Diesel Exhaust. )

Medium and heavy duty vehicles, that are mostly diesel engines, do not need to idle for extended periods of time. Reducing idle time increases company profits, improves health, conserves a limited resource, and slows the advance of climate change. In many cities and regions rules and laws prohibit continuous idling of vehicles for extended periods of time.
While there are some legitimate reasons why trucks and buses need to idle, in most cases it can and should be avoided. With increasing fuel costs being a concern, it makes more sense now than ever to break this unnecessary habit.
Idling gets you 0 miles per gallon!

Most fleet managers and drivers are surprised when they see how much can be saved and how much is currently wasted and how simple it is to do.

A medium duty vehicle burns one half a gallon per hour. If they are idling unnecessarily for two hours a day, it will cost the company around $1000 per year. If you have 25 trucks in your fleet, $25,000 is simply going up in smoke. Plus, this does not include the cost to the environment, health, stress and headaches, and the negative image this portrays when people see your trucks polluting.
For heavy duty vehicles that burn 1 gallon in our, you can save thousands on fuel alone, and even more due to increased engine maintenance and shortened engine life as excessive idling can damage engines.
Click on the table above to see examples of the math on how much can be saved, based on a 260 day working year.

“excessive idling reduces fuel economy, and may decrease oil life.”
“A typical truck fleet burns up to a gallon of fuel for every hour a truck idles – in the process, adding the equivalent of 40 miles of engine wear and tear.” International Truck
“Starting and stopping the engine is actually easier on the engine then prolonged idling.” Kenworth
“there is no additional where when shutting the truck on and off several times a day. There are benefits in fuel economy and where in durability when shutting the truck down rather than idling.” Caterpillar

TECHNICAL FACT SHEET: oil contamination /fuel dilution, turbocharger cooldown and starter wear.

Newer trucks are now becoming equipped with emissions controls making them up to 90% clean-air than older diesel engines. This includes a diesel particulate filter (DPF) which must be regenerated to be effective.
In most typical driving conditions , this usually occurs automatically while the vehicle is driven so the driver doesn’t need to do anything differently.
In unusually abnormal duty cycles, with lots of short starts and stops, a warning light will typically come on indicating that the DPF needs to be regenerated. The driver has two options.
A) the driver can do a manual or forced parked regeneration; or
B) the driver can simply drive the vehicle normally for about 20 minutes, and the regeneration will occur automatically. A common misunderstanding is that many drivers and fleet operators are not aware of option B.

The pungent and strong order of diesel exhaust is not only nauseating but is also extremely dangerous to breath, particularly for children and the elderly.
Particulate Matter – [PM]: Linked to cancer, respiratory disease, cardiovascular disease and increased respiratory illness in children and the elderly.

• Nitrogen Oxides – [NOX]: Linked to problems such as shortness of breath, asthma, respiratory disease and decreased lung function.

• Carbon Monoxide – [CO]: Reduces the flow of oxygen in the bloodstream and is of particular concern to those with cardiovascular disease.

• Hydrocarbons – [HC]: When combined with nitrogen oxides in the presence of sunlight, hydrocarbons can irritate the eyes, damage lungs and aggravate respiratory problems

TRUCKERS ARE GETTING SICKER according to a Clean Air Task Force study in the US!!!

FACT: studies have shown that the occupational exposure to diesel exhaust, especially truck drivers, bus drivers, dockworkers in railroad workers, is another concern. Studies show that he trucking related industry workers have higher levels of health problems such as those listed above.

There is a monetary cost of diesel exhaust and idling as well. The same study estimates the diesel fine particulate pollution accounted for approximately $139 billion in the United States in monetized health impact or losses in 2010. Although there is no such study in Canada, some suggest that we can extrapolate roughly 10%, or $13 billion worth of health related costs or impacts in Canada.

Gasoline emissions are significantly less toxic, but they also contain harmful chemicals including hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxides, and carbon monoxide.

Note: tighter emissions standards on ultralow sulfur diesel engines have lower toxic emissions, but many of the pre-2007 heavy duty diesel vehicle emissions still remain uncontrolled. It is more importance than ever to ensure the vehicles get Phased out of operation, although many will remain for the next decade or so.

there are laws in Canada that limit the idling of motor vehicles.
In most cases, if you know he will be parked for more than 10 seconds in a parking spot, it is wise to simply turn off your engine. Leaving the engine running is legal in many cities in Canada.
Cities like Toronto, Burlington, Sarnia and others have bylaws that prohibit
the idling of all motor vehicles for more than one minute.
For example, in Burlington, which has one of the better bylaws to protect its citizens, idling for more than one minute is illegal, and there are no temperature exemptions, meaning that even in winter time, drivers need to learn to where jackets rather than using their vehicle as a 4000 pound sauna.

A vehicle is used as a mode of transportation and should not be thought of as a 4000 pound sauna. Many drivers have learned to warm up the car while driving, then turning off the engine when arriving at their destination. Being in a enclosed vehicle, that is semi-warm, while wearing winter clothing anyhow, will typically be comfortable to most people, especially since the wind chill factor does not affect them.

Most school boards prohibit idling at school buses on school grounds and schoolbus companies have policies to curb unnecessary idling. Idling bylaws prohibit these vehicles from idling as well.

Most fleet vehicles, emblazed with company logos, are rolling billboards and make a statement about the company to the public.

All companies can take a positive step to doing their part to fight climate change, by being environmental stewards themselves by ensuring their vehicles are IDLE-FREE. A positive first step is to formally adopt a written idling reduction policy ensure there is no confusion or mis-information when educating new drivers and operators.

Being IDLE FREE has many benefits:
CORPORATE GOODWILL: This portrays a positive and green image to the public and closely mirrors the company’s social responsibility.
STAFF PRIDE: As many staff and drivers are also parents, it build personal pride in the company but also with the employees that they are being protectors of the environment that their children will inherit. Setting a positive role model to children is important as they will learn from us.
COST SAVINGS: And, of course, avoiding costly engine where and wasted fuel leads directly to increase profits.

For city and municipal fleets, County residents will appreciate knowing that there can employees are saving taxpayer dollars, improving health, conserving energy and lessening the towns carbon footprints. It is important, that cities act as role models to the community by walking the talk when it comes to sustainable transportation, protecting the environments, reducing costs and of course complying with the idling bylaw ordinances that they themselves have created and are enforcing. Clearly marked  and highly visible city fleets, buses and other taxpayer funded vehicles, have additional scrutiny and frustration from the taxpayers when they see city vehicles and buses wasting 10’s of million of dollars while increasing taxes and making speaches how they need to do more to protect the environment.
As many cities do this, they are finding, beyond the cost savings, a community pride sets in which brings in other benefits. A safe and healthy community is an idle-free community. An idle-free community is a caring community where people are more considerate of others and the environment. A more caring and livable community tends to foster pride and to-getherness, or in other words, ‘community spirit’.

DOWNLOAD a sample policy in Word format, that can be tailored to your fleet operation.

“Size doesnt matter!” Whether it be a fleet of 2 cars or thousands, it doesnt matter.  What is important is simply starting. If you want more info and resources, contact to get more information emailed to you on first steps you can take.
Additional Resources:

rom the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy division:  NATIONAL IDLING REDUCTION NETWORK NEWS (NIRNN)

The National Idling Reduction Network brings together trucking and transit companies; railroads; ports; equipment manufacturers; Federal, state, and local government agencies (including regulators); nonprofit organizations; and national research laboratories to identify consistent, workable solutions to heavy-vehicle idling for the entire United States. To receive the free NIRNN monthly by email, contact Patricia Weikersheimer. Or browse up-to-date archives of the NIRNN.





How much can fleets save?