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RAM’s research into vehicle idling times

In order to see where some of our customers could save money and also to do our bit in reducing emissions, we’ve taken a look at some of the idling reports on our systems, and the results that we found showed that some vehicles are wasting huge amounts in fuel as a result of idling.

The figures in our research - which looked at idling times of a selection of vehicles over a 1 week period from 10/09/2012 to 17/09/2012 - went from 31 minutes at the lowest end, right up to 7 hours 26 minutes at the higher end.

The figures also varied across industries, with coach and engineering companies clocking up high averages, and scaffolding companies’ vehicles having some of the lowest idling times.

As a general rule of thumb, if an engine is likely to be stood for more than 10 seconds whilst not in traffic then it should be switched off. 10 seconds represents the amount of time that is equivalent in fuel use terms to turning the engine off and then on again, meaning switching off for 10 seconds or longer will result in a net gain for companies’ fuel bills.

The highest figure in our research – 7:26 – represents an approximate fuel usage of almost 32 litres in a high RPM idling vehicle, equal to around £444 at an average UK pump. Multiply this up for a fleet of 10 vehicles, and a company would be looking at nearly £4500 wasted.

Of course some idling is inevitable, and we have provided a top-end estimate, but when it comes to company vehicles that are likely to be on the road for lengthened periods of time, it pays to be mindful of keeping the engine running for more than is necessary.

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