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Save the Planet, Save Money Too

August 18, 2011

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Hard-wired five-minute idle timers will probably begin appearing on trucks in 2014. You'll have two choices come winter: freeze your hiney off, or get an APU. This week we provide a list of idle-cost calculators so you can start budgeting for the new EPA rules.
On-board climate control may become a necessity if 5-minute idle timers take hold. Photo by Jim Park
On-board climate control may become a necessity if 5-minute idle timers take hold. Photo by Jim Park


There has been lots of talk already centering on how truck makers will equip trucks so that they meet the fuel consumption reduction targets mandated recently by the EPA and NHTSA. Among the suggestions is hard-wiring a five minute idle timer to the engine so that it can never idle for more than five minutes -- no matter how hot or cold it might get outside.

That will get the truck makers some credits toward their fuel economy goals, but it might leave you out in the cold.

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Below is a bunch of links to online idle cost calculators so you can get a handle on the cost of idling (or how much you'll save by not idling). If you're planning to buy an APU of some description, you'll have a starting point to begin calculating the return on your APU investment. Some of these are proprietary, and some are generic fuel cost calculators. Most will prove useful in some way.

And if you don't know your fuel costs to the tenth of a penny, some of these calculators will help with that too.

By the way, if you're aware of any other useful anti-idle or fuel economy calculators, please use the comment form at the bottom of the page to submit the details and I'll update the list. And thanks.


Use this fuel consumption calculator to track your fuel economy every week or for every trip: Natural Resources Canada Fuel Economy Calculator

How Much Could You Save by Idling Less? Use this idle cost calculator from
Argonne National Laboratory

This idling cost calculator will help you estimate the financial and environmental costs of unnecessary vehicle idling, based on the types of vehicles you have and their present operating conditions: E3 Fleet Idle Cost Calculator

Calculate the potential impact a workplace idling initiative would have if your employee's committed to reducing idling of their vehicles: Natural Resources Canada Workplace Idling Calculator

See how much fuel savings you could realize with a Webasto Product: Thermo King Webasto

Is an electric anti-idle system right for you? Use the Odessey Battery calculator to determine the battery requirements and cost of running an electric system:
Odyssey Battery

Ever thought about a propane powered APU? This calculator shows how long it will take to pay off the device, and how much diesel fuel you'll save in the process: LifeForce Propane APU ROI calculator

Calculate your yearly idling costs. See how much AUTOTHERM will save you: Autotherm USA

Saving money can be as easy as pushing a button. Use this calculator to see how effective an Espar heater can be at saving fuel and money: Espar

The No-Idle Calculator from Bergstrom will show you an estimate of just how much you can save by not idling your truck: Bergstrom

This Payback Calculator from Kohler will help you to Determine your return on investment: Kohler Power Systems

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Author Bio

Jim Park

Equipment Editor

Truck journalist 13 years, commercial driver 20 years. Joined us in 2007. Specializes in technical/equipment material (including Tire Report), brings real-world perspective to test drives.

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