March 5, 2021


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How Much is Excessive Idling Costing Your Business?

National Truck Equipment Association conducted a fleet idling time study in 2015 by polling field service businesses. The fleet size ranged from 10 to 5,000 assets or vehicles. They discovered that more than 66% of the fleets (weighed average) suffered from excessive idling time of over 1 hour a day.

fleet idle time industry

Daily idle time by Industry, 2015 (Source:

Where does your business fall under according to this chart?

If your answer is “I don’t know,” let’s find out. You may save upwards of thousands on operational costs by monitoring and understanding your fleet’s idling.

Don’t take our words for it.

Jason Stafford, the Operations Director of Two Men and a Truck (from Central Illinois), shared his plans to save up to $27,000 by automating idle monitoring in 2021.


The Importance of Monitoring Idle Time

There are two key reasons why monitoring your fleet idle time is essential to your service-based business: compliance and reducing operational costs.

1. Stay Compliant with State Idling Laws

If you own or operate a fleet, your state may have Anti-Idling regulations. In California, violation of excessive idling – defined as more than 5 minutes – can result in fines. You are responsible for employee’s idling regulation violations and fines.

  • → First violation: $250
  • → Second violation: $500
  • → Third violations and beyond: $1,000

Excessive idling not only negatively damages the environment, but it can also kill. A study conducted by the World Bank and the Health Effects Institute observed that 100,000 people die yearly from air-pollution-related diseases.

2. Fleet Idle time has a direct impact on your bottom line

More than 6 billion gallons of gasoline and diesel are wasted every year due to excessive vehicle idling.

Excessive idling also puts tremendous stress on your vehicle’s components. Even one hour of idle time per day adds up to 64,000 miles of engine wear over the course of a year.

If you own diesel vehicles, you may think you are in the clear. It is true that diesel engines utilize less fuel while idling, but the wear and tear on the engine is no joke. Excessive idling can contribute to clogging of DPF (Diesel Particulate Filter), reducing the efficiency of your vehicle. Repair and replacement of the filter can cost in the range of $3,000 to $10,000.

How to calculate the impact of vehicle Idle time

The formula for calculating the cost of excessive idling is as follows:

Fleet Idle Cost = (Idling Fuel Consumption Rate) x (Cost of Fuel) x (Total Idling Time) x (Number of Vehicles)

f(c) = I x F x T x N

Idling Fuel Consumption Rate varies depending on the type of vehicle. For the purpose of this exercise, we took the average of non-sedans as shown below, which came out to be 0.71 gallons per hour.


If you operate a fleet with 10 vehicles, with the assumption of $3 per gallon, this translates into:

Fleet size 1-hour idle time per day (in yearly cost) 2 hours idle time 3 hours idle time
10 $7,775 $15,550 $23,325
50 $38,875 $77,750 $116,625
100 $77,750 $155,500 $233,250

Automate Your Fleet Idle Monitoring

When you own and/or operate a fleet with more than a few vehicles, there’s no effective nor efficient way to monitor excessive idling.

With Momentum IoT, you can monitor and gain a clear picture of how idling may be impacting your fleet operations.

Here’s how we can help with your fleet idle management:

  • ✓ Get an alert via text or email when any single vehicle exceeds an idling threshold, defined by you.
    See the total idle time on an asset-level and on a macro-level (entire fleet).
  • ✓ Instantly know which vehicles are the worst offenders with our top 10 Idler leaderboard
  • ✓ See idling trends over hours, days, weeks, and months.

Ready to automate your fleet idle monitoring and reporting?

Start today with $0 fleet GPS equipment cost.

Leave A Comment

  1. Ire July 28, 2021 at 6:43 pm - Reply

    Hello- how do I find out the fuel consumption rates based on engine sizes in Liters? Is there a chart showing engine sizes and consumption rates? This is to find out idling cost. So that I could complete my formula.


    • Dev Bhatia August 1, 2021 at 10:56 pm - Reply

      Great question. There is no universal answer, in part because so many variables go into this. Not only the engine size, but also what equipment you have on (like is the AC running?) and also the outside weather. You can begin by searching for your specific makes and seeing what’s online. For example, with Fords, here’s a place to start: According to this, idling burns just over a quart per hour. If that is anywhere in the ballpark, it means idling costs about a dollar an hour, assuming gas costs $4. And you might double that if the AC is running.