With fuel costs rising and falling faster than a winter barometer, there is increased pressure on the trucking industry and others that rely on heavy machinery to reduce fuel costs and responsibly use fuel efficient methodologies wherever possible.
Our friends in the industry when asked had all suggested reducing the amount of idling that transpires over the course of any long haul.
Image by MIKI Yoshihito via Flickr
Here are the best ways to reduce idling, as per the experts!
1. Off-Truck Idle Reduction Options
Starting on the outside and working our way in, shore power will bring standard AC voltage into the truck’s cab to recharge and power each device a driver may have on board. The only caveat is that most truck stops lack the necessary shore power plugins to make this an evergreen solution. Some trucks are equipped with shore power solutions, and others may require an inverter.
2. Refers Powered by Electric Standby
One of the most effective ways to cut costs on diesel fuel for temperature controlled trucks is to use standby power when a truck is parked. Instead of burning diesel fuel, and as an alternative to backup power, plugging in your unit during onloading and off-loading can do even more to reduce fuel costs, given the exponentially lower costs of using electricity over diesel fuel.
3. GPS Fleet Management
Through the fleet-wide use of GPS management and telematics, managers can be notified who the biggest idlers are through reporting based on specific pre-defined metrics which note the amount of time a truck has been idling for. If it reaches a specific time allotment, a truck in the fleet can call home and report the activity.
4. Go Solar
Thin and flexible solar panels originally designed for the RV industry can work wonders keeping cab-comfort system dedicated batteries fully charged and ready for anything. A 53 foot tractor-trailer roof has the potential to collect over 5,000 DC watts from the sun per hour. Throw in a power inverter and that number can become 3,000 watts of AC power. Not bad, at all — and there are plenty of trucks for sale already outfitted with solar panel technology in the market.
5. Timing is Everything
Try using an idle shutdown timer to set the threshold for how long you’d like your rig to idle for. Some idle shutdown timers on the market can even monitor cabin temperature to ensure that everything stays comfortable, turning on and off the idle based on presets set in advance.
6. Auxiliary Power
Auxiliary power units can be powered by diesel and others by battery and they can be picked up from all sorts of industry players; from refrigeration unit manufacturers to truck manufacturers themselves, there are a lot of options on the market.
7. Stop Unnecessary Idling
If you’re not in the truck, stop idling to keep it at the desired temperature. Your trailer is 53 feet long, your cab isn’t. It does not require constant idling. When you return to your truck you can restart your engine and initiate the HVAC before your walk-around inspection – that short time is all you need to make your cab cozy once again, and just the way you like it.
8. Alternative Cab Temperature Control
If you are in a safe and secure area, consider leaving your windows open and use a fan instead of running the cab’s bulky cooling system. Just ensure that you’re upwind from other truckers so you are not breathing in fumes while taking reprieve.