Gasoline isn’t getting any cheaper, and emergency vehicles use a whole lot of it just to sit in one place and idle. Historically, idling has been a fact of life for emergency vehicles. Emergency responders show up to a call with only the vaguest idea of how long their vehicle is going to sit unattended. With light bars, radios, computers, barcode scanners and a host of other power hungry electronics, it just isn’t practical to try to run everything on battery power alone. A dead battery leaves you without those important electronics and in need of a jump start. So, you leave the engine on. But that’s not good, either.
First of all, idling burns gas. Emergency vehicles tend to be a bit gasoline thirsty to begin with. Sure, you won’t burn a half tank of gas by idling for an hour or two at a time, but think about it. Every vehicle on the planet gets the same fuel economy while idling: 0 MPG. If your engine isn’t moving your vehicle, or actively charging your battery via the generator, it isn’t doing anything useful.
Second of all, burning gas pollutes the environment. Modern vehicle emissions systems are pretty impressive. They keep a lot of nasty stuff out of the air, but if you’re burning gas or diesel, there’s no escaping CO2 emissions. A gallon of gas weighs only about 6 pounds, yet emits 19 pounds of CO2! The math seems a bit hard to believe, but it’s true. It would be nice to see our public (and private) emergency fleets setting an example, especially when considering the growing number of states and municipalities that are legislating anti-idling measures. Plus, being green is popular!
Finally, idling wears on the engine. Aside from just the extra hours, an engine at idle speed is far from peak efficiency. It runs at lower temperatures, causing incomplete combustion. This creates fuel residues that increase engine wear, and higher condensation in exhaust systems, which decreases their useful life. Engine wear means increased repair budgets and decreased vehicle life. In other words, more expenses.
This month, our partner Havis is shipping its second generation idle management system, the IdleRight 2. This generation simplifies installation by leveraging the existing market of remote car starters, which also reduces the price tag. The cost of the combination of a commercial remote starter and the IdleRight 2 is in the $200-300 range, making it easily attainable with a rapid return on investment. The unit monitors the vehicle electrical system and starts the engine to recharge only when necessary. With this unit, you can expect to:
- Reduce carbon emissions. Go Green!
- Reduce fuel consumption. Save Greenbacks!
- Reduce maintenance and increase engine life. Save More Greenbacks!
What’s not to like? If you have questions about the IdleRight 2 or wish to inquire about an evaluation unit, send me an email. Questions and comments are welcome below, and as always, we welcome your calls.