By RAM Tracking on 30 Jan 2023

Instances of excessive idling throughout Winter have led to motorists that use either a petrol or diesel vehicle to waste, collectively, £188 million.

The Institution of Engineering and Technology’s (IET) latest study has discovered that 64% of drivers will let their engine idle throughout Winter, with a shocking 40% of drivers admitting that they will actually let their vehicle idle a minimum of three times a week. The colder weather leads to more than a million motorists to idle every single day during winter – leading to the production of a carbon footprint over a lifetime of 825kg.

We want to really bring light to this issue - the average idle time in the colder months is 4.79 minutes, however, one in six motorists will leave their car running in a morning to get everything warm. Now, this may mean your vehicle is warm in the cold weather, but you have to focus on the important cons of leaving a vehicle idle for extended periods of time:

  • Wear and tear: The latest vehicles have an electronic fuel system, so you only need to leave your car running for 30 seconds before you can set off. Longer than this will actually drain your battery and reduce your vehicle lifespan. These are two separate points that will slowly build up until you need to replace them both, you may not be prepared for this as it happens much quicker than expected, and if several drivers do it, you may not have the budget to do pay out for a new battery or an entire new vehicle.
  • Fuel consumption/cost: Leaving your vehicle to idle for 15 minutes each morning to warm up will very quickly lead to a much higher fuel bill – you will find that you are refuelling a lot more frequently. This will not only lead to you fuelling up more when it shouldn't be required that you do but you get fewer miles to the gallon when you idle as you end up just wasting your petrol by sitting in place.
  • Air pollution/CO2 emissions: The group of motorists idling for 16.1 minutes a day were found (within a study run by Amanda R. Carrico et al.) to account for 94 million tons of annual CO2 emissions within the United States alone… this equates to over 10 billion gallons of fuel. Doing this every single day quickly adds up to wasted petrol as well as massive amounts of pollution.

Fill my tank to the top or just half-fill it?

Whilst filling your tank up even only halfway will make a vehicle lighter, and therefore, it will be more fuel efficient... There are a few reasons that you absolutely should fill your tank to the top:

  • By filling your tank up in small amounts, which means that oil deposits and the generally bad quality stuff gets pumped around your vehicle for a longer period of time. This can lead to your fuel pump overheating and your engine clogging which can lead to a fatal accident. Fuel pumps start at £200 minus labour, and this cost will change between cars.
  • You run the extra risk of breaking down when you run out of fuel by filling up in small amounts. This isn't so bad in an unleaded vehicle, it just requires you to refill it will fuel, however, a diesel engine may begin sending air through the vehicle's fuel system. If this happens you will need to visit a mechanic so they can bleed the fuel system before it will start again. This is an additional cost to your business.
  • You run a risk of fuel tank condensation. Now, this is generally more of an issue with older cars, however, you always run the risk. If there is a temperature difference between the fuel in the vehicle's tank and the air outside, you can get fuel tank condensation, leading to dealing with water in the fuel tank.

How to save money on fuel

There are a number of ways that you can save money on fuel, but a few simple options are:

Tyre pressure: You should ensure that your drivers have the correct tyre pressure within their tyres, this reduces the amount of rolling resistance against the road. Not only will this prolong the life of the tread on your tyres but you will also have a much higher fuel efficiency because your engine is not working harder to move the vehicle due to the additional friction because of a misshapen tyre.

Lighten the load: This a very simple one, but a major factor in the amount of fuel your vehicle will use. The heavier a vehicle is the more fuel that is required to keep it moving. This is even more true when driving in stop-start traffic. It's easy to get in the habit of using your vehicle as a storage space, but keep in mind that an extra 50kg of weight in the vehicle will increase its fuel consumption by 1-2%.

Watch your driving style: Your vehicle isn't the only thing that can help you improve your fuel economy, you have a huge part to play too. When your drivers are rapidly accelerating and harshly braking frequently, this will of course impact your fuel consumption. The best way to deal with this? Maintain a constant speed and when in slow traffic, leave adequate space so you're not constantly hitting the brakes.

How RAM Tracking can help

RAM Tracking allows you to monitor important aspects such as how much idle time your drivers have in a day, if they are adopting sensible habits behind the wheel or if they are in fact rapidly accelerating and harshly braking. This can all be tracked and put into a report through either our desktop web app or our mobile app.

This will give you the information you need in seconds that can be understood at a simple glance, allowing you to coach your drivers on a 1:1 basis to ensure that they are sensible behind the wheel and that they aren’t taking excessive breaks.

RAM Tracking offers you a variety of ways you can save money through the simple use of our system, as well as providing additional theft prevention measures to your vehicles and understanding if drivers were breaking speed limits on their route on any particular day (a fantastic, visual way to ensure that they were not rapidly accelerating or harshly braking). Access all of this and more.

Get in touch with us, we would love to give you a demo of our system and show you how you can join our customers that are saving, on average, £71 per week, per vehicle.

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