Reduce Your Semi Idling Time And Save Substantial Money On Fuel

As you start shopping for your very first semi truck, like one from Arrow Truck Sales, you're planning on making a substantial investment in your business. Saving money wherever you can is important. One way to cut costs on the road is to scale back on idling time. Even if you're already an experienced trucker, you may be surprised to find out how easy it can be to cut costs this way. In addition, it doesn't have to involve inconvenience and discomfort. 

About Fuel Usage During Idling

Semi trucks can burn about a gallon of diesel fuel during an hour of idling. You waste several gallons of fuel every week if you don't shut the truck off when you stop for a meal or have to wait to load or unload. 

Stop the Engine After a Few Minutes of Idling

You don't want to turn off the engine if you're stuck in traffic because you'll need to move quickly once the jam breaks up. Nevertheless, you certainly can shut off the engine if you're in line waiting to load or unload, or if there is some other reason for a delay at a pickup or drop-off site. Otherwise, you're simply burning fuel for no reason. 

Reduce Idling Time for Engine Warm-Up

If you're old-school, you're accustomed to drivers letting their trucks run at length for engine warm-up during cold weather. Check your vehicle manual for information about how long you actually need to do so when temps are below freezing. The more modern semis require much less idle time for this purpose than was historically true with older models.  

Stop Idling for Climate Control

Instead of idling for several hours while you get some shut-eye during extreme hot or cold weather, use a portable battery-powered device or another suitable option.

During cold weather, you can run a small ceramic heater to stay warm. A plug-in mattress pad heater keeps you toasty warm while not using much of the truck's battery resources. Another possibility is a fuel-fired heater that warms the engine block and the cab while the engine is not running. This device uses substantially less fuel than idling does.

To manage hot weather, use a small battery-powered air conditioner. Depending on the temperature, a fan might do the trick.

If you spend a lot of time over-the-road in a hot climate, you might have an air conditioner installed that efficiently runs from the truck's battery while the engine is off. Battery protection shuts off the a/c before too much power is used. 

You may be tempted to let the truck run when you stop for a meal because you hate the idea of getting into a really hot or icy cold cab. All you really need to do is start up the truck and let it run for a couple of minutes; the vehicle won't take forever to be climate-controlled again after that short break.

Buy a Truck With an Automatic Shut-Off System

Some newer semi models have systems that automatically shut off the engine after a certain amount of idle time.

Say you're idling to keep the truck warm when the weather is very cold. You can program this feature to shut the engine off after a certain amount of time or when the cab reaches a certain temperature. The engine then turns back on for a few minutes to get the oil and antifreeze circulating, charge the battery and heat or cool the cab.

Concluding Thoughts

You'll want to keep your costs as low as possible while maximizing your profit as an owner-operator. Cutting your idling time can go a long way to helping you save costs on fuel and have extra money for things you'd rather spend it on.