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Why Truck Idling is Bad for Your Pocket & the Environment

Published On Jun 05, 2016By Lisa Pradhan

Trucks are the lifeline of the Indian economy. Which means that they rule the roads; thousands of these heavy vehicles strive to carry essential commodities even to extreme interiors. In Delhi alone, more than 75,000 trucks ply on the road every day and taking the entire country into count, lakhs of commercial vehicles crusade the roads on a daily basis. Thus, the number of trucks idling at any given point of time is astounding. This raises the concern about the huge volume of diesel exhaust and the health effects associated with it. Nonetheless, with emerging technologies, manufacturers are ensuring cleaner diesel engines for a pollution free environment.

What is idling?

Idling simply means keeping your engine running when your vehicle is parked or not in use. A common sight at traffic signals, drivers can also idle their trucks while they are waiting outside a business or residence or take breaks on the roadside.

Why you must avoid engine idling?

1. Wastes fuel and money: A truck idling for an hour burns around four liters of oil. If a truck idles for an hour daily for a year, it consumes 1460 liters of oil which means that it burns a huge hole of INR 84,534 annually.

2. Causes pollution: An idling truck also emits a significant amount of smoke which consists of carbon dioxide that plays it part in climate change. Other gases released such as nitrous oxide and volatile organic compounds lead to the formation of ozone smog, poisonous carbon monoxide and other particulate matter.

3. Leads to extreme engine wear: An engine running at low speed causes double the wear and tear on internal parts than when running at regular speeds. The American Trucking Association says that this wear and tear can cost almost $2000 on maintenance (INR 1,33,560) per year.

4. Threatens the health of drivers: Unlike in a running vehicle, where a proper air flow cuts the smoke from reaching the driver, drivers sitting in idle vehicles are more prone to health risks from emissions.

What are the common myths associated with engine idling?

1. Idling for 5 minutes or more in the morning for diesel engines, especially on cold days, is good for the vehicle.

Fact: Many engine manufacturers recommend no more than three minutes for vehicle idling

2. Technologies meant for reducing idling are not cost effective.

Fact: Even though these technologies might be on the higher side, they pay for themselves by reducing maintenance costs in the longer run.

3. Exhaust from diesel engines is not damaging.

Fact: Several chemicals in diesel engines can be extremely harmful, especially in the longer run.

4. Truck idling in case of heavy duty vehicles does not waste fuel.

Fact: Idling eats up the fuel and profit costs of small and large fleet owners alike, making truck owners bear thousands of rupees annually.

How can you prevent your vehicle from idling?

1. Check out recommendations from the vehicle manufacturer for idling time.

2. Turn off engine when your truck is not in motion.

3. Electric engine heaters can minimize idling time during warm-up, especially in cold weather.

4. Ensure than the new equipment you buy for your vehicle is fitted with technology to help minimize idling time.

See Also:

Top Technologies to Derive Better Fuel Economy for Small Trucks

Top 10 Things to Include in your Pre and Post Trip Truck Inspection List

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