Idle Reduction Strategies

Ways to Reduce Idling

While burning fuel is necessary to move goods, much is wasted due to inefficient practices, such as unnecessary idling. The fundamental problem with idling is that some view it necessary to keep the driver comfortable.  However, by considering alternatives to idling and modifying driver behavior, companies and individuals can successfully reduce excessive idling while still maintaining driver comfort. 

Consider Alternatives: 
There are many alternatives to idling the main engine of a truck and costs can range from very little to several thousand dollars. The best option depends on the extent of the idling problem and the location of the truck when idling occurs.

The Driver's Lounge:  Having an area where drivers can kick back and stretch their legs while goods are being loaded onto and/or unloaded off the truck can help reduce the need to idle. This lounge can fit any budget, and can be as ordinary as a converted office, or as lavish as a brand new structure.  Amenities can include internet, cable TV, food and beverages, a microwave or toaster oven, and even a cot for a quick nap.

Idling Reduction Technology:   On-board or on-site devices allow the driver to turn off the main engine while still providing driver comfort and; thus, reducing air pollution and fuel consumption. On-board devices are installed on the truck, and on-site devices use existing infrastructure to provide power and other amenities to the truck.   Available options are included in the Technology page.

Change Driver Behavior: 
By providing training, incentives, and/or pledges to drivers, excessive idling can be reduced even further.

Training: Hosting a training session to help inform drivers and operators about the fuel consumption, emissions, and potential health risks associated with idling can be beneficial in getting drivers to actively participate in idling-reduction programs.  The following materials can be downloaded or ordered to assist with driver education.


Driver Incentives: Offering an incentive to drivers can encourage reduced idling among the driving force.  Below are some examples of incentive options. 

  • Reward drivers having the best fuel economy on a monthly or quarterly basis.
  • Have each driver contribute a small amount of money, and the driver with the least amount of idling time collects the entire pool.
  • Provide incentives based on set idling thresholds*.  

For example, assuming 8 hrs/night  X  20 days/month = 160 hrs/month, the following incentive structure might be implemented.


Idling Reduction Thresholds*

Employer Savings per month @ $4.00/gallon

$5 gas/gift card

< 100 hours per month


$10 gas/gift card

< 75 hours per month


$15 gas/gift card

< 50 hours per month


$20 gas/gift card

< 25 hours per month


$50 gas/gift card

No idling per month


*Thresholds should be structured to best fit the typical hour of operation and idling of each individual business entity.

If your company already has a program underway, please let us know about it!  

Pledge to Reduce Idling:   Pledges are another way of promoting idling awareness and getting drivers on board with reducing fuel consumption.   Pledges are available for download for companies and drivers committed to reduce idling.  Companies should encourage drivers to sign a pledge, and include it as part of an incentive program.

Staff Contact: Huong Duong, Jason Brown