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GPS tracking: Fleet managers crack down on engine idle time

June 25, 2024

While much has changed in how we manage our commercial vehicles over the last decade, one common understanding still holds true: excessively idling engines can be a big problem for fleets of all sizes. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), an idling diesel engine consumes 0.8 gallons of fuel per hour. If 25 trucks idle for two hours a day, they burn 40 gallons of diesel fuel. With the average nationwide price of diesel fuel at $3.76 per gallon as of this writing, it costs a fleet $150.40 per day in fuel for zero miles driven. Multiply that by 300 operating days, and it’s $45,120 in unnecessary costs due to excessive idling.

How can fleet managers mitigate revenue losses caused by idling engines? GPS tracking technology with data analysis like what WEX ClearView fleet analytics provides can help.

Spot instances of misuse and excessive engine idle time

With an eye toward designing solutions for fleets with a wide range of varying needs, analytics tools like WEX ClearView fleet analytics presents complex fleet data in straightforward and compelling graphics. Whether you are a small business with a few commercial vehicles and basic data questions or a large business managing hundreds of vehicles, there’s a WEX ClearView solution to help you manage your fleet – and your fleet’s excessive idle time.

WEX ClearView enables you to quickly spot and troubleshoot red flag activity and exceptions, pinpoint excessive idle time, identify overspending, and investigate suspicious transactions. Take action to stop overspending:

  • Identify drivers whose behavior affects the bottom-line
  • Gain insight on common non-compliant driver habits
  • Choose from message templates to provide drivers with guidance
  • Deploy messages via email or text

Drivers can’t hide from the data

Telematics data allows fleet managers to engage in honest, straightforward conversations with their drivers about excessive idle time. The hard data provided by tools like WEX ClearView fleet analytics gives you an objective starting point for evaluating a driver’s performance. As time goes on, comparisons can be analyzed and you’ll be able to identify trends in the driver’s behavior. Positive trends make it easy to reward a driver for a job well done. On the other hand, this detailed information also catches a driver’s behavior as it begins to slip. By using your analytics tool you can spot small increases in idle time and talk to a driver and correct his or her performance before more loss impacts the company.

Long list of benefits for stopping idle engines

Beyond saving fuel and reducing travel time, cracking down on excessive idle time with telematics such as those provided by WEX ClearView fleet analytics offers several advantages for your company. Less engine use means reduced repair costs, extended engine life, fewer emissions, and quieter performance. Removing each of these problems allows your fleet to best reach its full potential, and telematics systems can help address each of these issues by making idle vehicles easier to spot. This feature is especially useful when hiring new drivers – preventing bad driving habits from setting in is the easiest way of stopping idle engine problems from occurring in the first place.

Additional strategies to reduce idle time

Fleet telematics is one of the most effective strategies that you can deploy to move your fleet toward better performance. There are several additional behaviors that fleet managers can encourage to reduce idle time, and many of them work well in tandem with a telematics system. The Indiana Department of Environmental Management outlines several tools to reduce engine idling ranging from automatic engine shut down and start up to auxiliary power units/generator sets to advanced truck stop electrification.

Powerful analytics for fleets of all sizes

Whether you are a small business with a commercial vehicle fleet with basic data questions or a large fleet overseeing hundreds or thousands of vehicles, there’s a WEX ClearView analytics and insights solution to help you manage your fleet.

  • Snap – Stay informed with easy-to-interpret, highly visual reports delivered directly to your inbox.
  • Essentials – Explore compelling visuals and drill-down capability to better manage your fleet.
  • Advanced – Move from insight to action with advanced options to target non-compliance.

Learn more and start taking action today to stop excessive idling. 

WEX is a leading, global fintech solutions provider, simplifying payments and back-end business processes in the fleet management, benefits management, and corporate payments areas. To learn more, please visit the company’s About WEX page.

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Indiana Department of Environmental Management 

Editorial note: This article was originally published on August 4, 2015, and has been updated for this publication.

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