Skip to content

Idling Fuel Consumption Calculator

In a certain sense, effective fuel management for fleet managers often involves a bit of detective work. When outliers are detected, fleet managers should investigate the corresponding vehicle’s fuel usage to find possible causes. If fuel theft and mechanical failures can be ruled out, idling is often the culprit.At the end of the day, the vast majority of idling is the result of driver behavior. Many drivers justify leaving their engines running by citing the belief that starting a vehicle consumes as much fuel as five minutes idling. While widely held, this concept simply isn’t the case for vehicles produced in the last three decades. These days, starting a vehicle uses a mere 30 seconds of fuel. Because of this, it’s far more efficient for drivers to stop and restart their engine whenever they exit their vehicle.

For example, excessive fuel consumption (as compared with other vehicles within a fleet) can be an indicator that a particular vehicle idles frequently. This is especially true when that vehicle’s fuel consumption does not correlate to its odometer readings.
Additionally, telematics devices that log when a vehicle’s ignition is activated can make the detective work of investing idling significantly smoother. For that reason, integrated fleet management systems are particularly beneficial, especially when they also support the fuel cards your fleet relies on.

Looking to make idling a problem of the past for your fleet? Fleetio’s fuel tracking system provides a powerful fleet cost management solution. Start a free trial or request a demo to discover what Fleetio can do.
“Fuel Consumption Rate” refers to how quickly your vehicles consume their fuel when idling. For those in the US, this should be measured in gallons per hour. “Cost of Fuel” represents how much was paid to fill up that vehicle’s tank (e.g. $5 per gallon). “Time Spent Idling” should use the same time measurement units (e.g. hours) as “Fuel Consumption Rate.”

Estimating how much your organization’s bottom line is affected by idling can help put the magnitude of its impact in perspective. Fortunately, calculating that figure only requires some simple multiplication.
Alex Borg is a Content Marketing Specialist at Fleetio. Beyond writing, his interests include going to concerts, playing guitar, and hanging out at the beach.Furthermore, fleets should also train their dispatchers to gather precise instructions from their customers and contacts regarding where their drivers should park at job sites. On large jobs sites, it’s often not obvious where drivers are expected to stop their vehicles. This often results in unnecessary driving around and idling, both of which consume fuel needlessly.

By regularly educating their staff on idling-reducing best practices, fleets can lower their fuel expenses, avoid hefty fines, and minimize unnecessary wear and tear on their vehicles.
To counteract fuel waste, fleets should educate their drivers on the impacts idling has on their organization and why they should be mindful about turning off their vehicles when they are not in use. Even a few minutes of inaction per trip quickly add up, so conveying the importance of anti-idling measures to drivers is vital.

With fuel prices being as volatile as they are at the moment and new regulations aimed at mitigating carbon emissions regularly being implemented, it’s never been more important for fleets to curb their vehicle idling. We’ll go over how organizations can quantify their fleet fuel costs, identify possible instances of idling, and reduce idling in this blog post.
Excessive vehicle idling can cost fleets thousands of dollars per vehicle over the course of a year in fuel alone. On top of that, many locations (including certain US states) issue fines to vehicles caught idling. In California, for instance, more than five minutes of idling is grounds for a $250 fine for first time offenders, a $500 fine for second violations, and a $1,000 fine for further infractions.

How much fuel is wasted by idling percentage?
An idling car uses between 1/5 to 7/10 of a gallon of fuel an hour.
Catching instances of idling is made much easier with the help of a fleet management solution. Instead of having to pore through fussy spreadsheets, fleet fuel management software surfaces vital fuel usage and spending data in the form of easy-to-read tables and charts. These on-demand fleet management reports allow fleet managers to keep a watchful eye over their vehicles and fleet management costs. According to the US Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory, 6,000,000,000 gallons of gasoline and diesel are wasted every year due to vehicle idling. And while consumer vehicles do contribute to that figure, a huge portion of that spent fuel is squandered by commercial fleets. Due to how it occurs in irregular, relatively short intervals, idling has a tendency to sneak under the radar of many fleets. Because of this, spotting potential idling often requires taking a close look at a fleet’s fuel usage data.For the average vehicle with a 3-litre engine, every 10 minutes of idling uses over one-quarter of a litre in wasted fuel – and up to one half of a litre if your vehicle has a 5-litre engine. There’s no question about it – unnecessary idling gets you nowhere; instead‚ it wastes money and fuel, and produces greenhouse gases that lead to climate change.

It’s safe to say that most Canadian motorists do some idling. However‚ research shows some interesting trends. For example‚ the amount of idling a driver does tends to increase with the number of people in the household. A driver living with children is more likely to idle than one without children. As well‚ the frequency of idling appears to decrease as a person ages – a retiree is the least likely to idle. A person living in a rural area is more likely to idle than a driver living in an urban centre. Regionally‚ a person in British Columbia is the least likely to idle a vehicle.
Contrary to popular belief, excessive idling is not an effective way to warm up your vehicle, even in cold weather. The best way to warm it up is to drive it. In fact, with today’s computer-controlled engines, even on cold winter days no more than two to three minutes of idling is usually enough warm-up time before starting to drive. Please consult your owner’s manual or your vehicle service advisor if you would like a recommendation specific to your vehicle or climatic conditions.If you’re going to be stopped for more than 60 seconds – except in traffic – turn the engine off. Unnecessary idling wastes money and fuel, and produces greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change.Warming up a vehicle in the winter and cooling it down in the summer are the most common reasons given for idling. According to a 1998 Natural Resources Canada study of driving attitudes and behaviour, Canadians also spend a lot of time idling their vehicles while waiting for passengers. We also idle when we run quick errands‚ sit in drive-through lanes, stop to talk to an acquaintance or friend‚ prepare to leave the house‚ wait at railway crossings‚ to park or to get gas‚ – even when waiting in line to get our car washed.

How much gas does a car use idling for 20 minutes?
The AAA says a good rule of thumb is that you use a quarter of a gallon of gas for every fifteen minutes you idle.
You may be concerned that turning off and restarting the vehicle to avoid idling will result in higher maintenance costs from extra wear and tear of the starter and battery. Actually, the break-even point to offset any incremental maintenance costs is under 60 seconds. You’ll save money on fuel that should more than offset any potential increased maintenance costs. And your vehicle won’t produce carbon dioxide emissions, the principle greenhouse gas contributing to climate change. As a guideline, if you’re going to stop for 60 seconds or more – except in traffic – turn the engine off.

How much gas is used idling for 10 minutes?
Minutes you then do a little bit of division. And you come down to the fuel flow rates for an idling. Engine. So this is how much fuel an idling 1.5 liter engine uses in just 10 minutes.
In Europe, the recommended guidelines for turning engines off are 10 seconds in Italy and France, 20 seconds in Austria, 40 seconds in Germany and 60 seconds in the Netherlands. In the United States the Environmental Protection Agency’s Smartway and DriveWise programs recommend turning the engine off if you’re stopped for more than 30 seconds.The following table provides data for three types of engines based on number of cylinders for idling time to a maximum of 10 minutes per day. The calculation method for each table value is the same as that for question 1.4. How does idling for just 10 minutes use over 1 cup of fuel for a vehicle with a 3 litre engine and over 2 cups of fuel for a vehicle with a 5 litre engine?

How do you calculate fuel consumption when idling?
The estimated fuel consumption of an idling engine is 0.6 litres / hr per litre of engine displacement. This means that an idling 3.5 litre engine consumes more than 2 litres of gas per hour. Letting your engine idle 30 minutes a day for two winter months burns a full tank of gas without ever moving a kilometre!
Review of the Incidence, Energy Use and Costs of Passenger Vehicle Idling; Gordon W. Taylor, P.Eng. Prepared for the Office of Energy Efficiency, Natural Resources Canada, 2003 Based on a worksheet developed by Argonne National Laboratory, the idle fuel consumption rate for selected gasoline and diesel vehicles with no load (no use of accessories such as air conditioners, fans, etc.) varies widely. Both compact sedans with 2.0 liter engines each consume about the same amount of fuel at idle (0.16 and 0.17 gallons per hour respectively), despite differing fuel types. By comparison, the large sedan with a 4.6 liter engine consumes just over twice as much fuel at idle. Of the remaining vehicle types listed, the transit bus consumed the most fuel while idling at nearly 1 gallon per hour (gal/hr). The gasoline medium heavy truck category with a gross vehicle weight (GVW) of 19,700-26,000 lbs. consumed more fuel at idle than the diesel medium heavy truck category at 23,000-33,000 lbs. GVW. Note: The passenger car results are from a study by Argonne National Laboratory; the delivery truck results are from a study by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory; the tow truck, transit bus, combination truck and bucket truck results are from a study by Oak Ridge National Laboratory; the tractor-semitrailer results were from a study by the American Trucking Associations; both of the medium heavy truck results were from a study published in the Journal of the Air & Waste Management Association. For details on these results, please see the individual studies referenced by the source.Letting a vehicle idle does more damage to the engine than starting and stopping. In fact, running an engine at low speed (idling) causes twice the wear on internal parts compared to driving at regular speeds.

“Idling” refers to running a vehicle’s engine when it’s not moving, such as when you’re at a red light or stuck in traffic. Idling is part of the process of driving a car and is a common occurrence for most drivers. However, idling may not be the best for your car, fuel consumption, or the environment.Download the 5 ways to reduce fuel costs eBook to learn how fleet management solutions can help you monitor the 5 key factors that can contribute to wasted fuel.

Excessive idling can also cause a buildup of carbon residue in a truck’s engine. Because the engine is not operating at its optimal temperature when idling, fuel is only partially combusted, leading to fuel residue buildup on the cylinder walls. This can further damage engine components, including spark plugs and exhaust systems, increasing maintenance costs and shortening the life of the engine.
These numbers don’t include the many other hours of idle time from smaller vehicles or the nonproductive idle time that occurs when trucks are loading and unloading. Emissions from engine idling are contributing to climate change and impacting air quality, which poses negative health risks for everyone.They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising

We use cookies and tracking for navigation, user feedback, analytics, marketing, and third-party advertising. You can manage cookies (and opt-out) via the link at the bottom of any of our pages at any time. Learn more about our privacy policy.
Reducing the amount of time vehicles are idling is a simple way to maintain and even increase fuel economy among fleet vehicles, especially as gas prices rise.

They help us to know which pages are the most and least popular and see how visitors move around the site. All information these cookies collect is aggregated and therefore anonymous. If you do not allow these cookies we will not know when you have visited our site, and will not be able to monitor its performanceIdling and wasted fuel also have a serious environmental impact. Engine idling is particularly bad for air quality, and the World Health Organization estimates that air pollution is responsible for 4.2 million deaths each year. Research conducted by Argonne via the Department of Energy estimates that 11 million tons of carbon dioxide, 55,000 tons of nitrogen oxides, and 400 tons of particulate matter are emitted into the environment from heavy-duty trucks idling during rest periods.

Verizon Connect Staff represents a team of professionals passionate about everything telematics. Get to hear about the latest trends, product features and industry best practices from the desk of Verizon Connect Staff.Auxiliary Power Units (APUs) are designed to save fuel, and an Aspen diesel APU will save approximately 1 gallon or 3.75 liters of fuel per hour, compared to idling the truck engine. The math is easy … use the calculator below to estimate your savings. *The costs and benefits provided by and described in this calculator are estimates only, and are based on Carrier Transicold’s base model diesel APU, which includes as standard components a fuel-fired heater and inverter, which not all competitive models include. Actual fuel savings may vary, and will depend on a variety of factors, including but not limited to load, equipment type, driver performance, distances traveled, vehicle speed and environmental conditions. Some additional intangible cost savings not reflected in the “calculated savings” include driver retention, reduced DPF maintenance, reduced engine hours and maintenance and higher truck residual value based on reduced engine hours. Use our NITE® No-Idle Calculator to calculate exactly how much you will save by not idling your truck. Click here to view current Regional U.S. Gas and Diesel Prices.

Kim from Norwood Declared her Curiosity about letting her car run for fifteen minutes every morning so it’s nice and toasty before she drives away. She asked: “How much gas do I actually use while it’s warming up?”
If you drive a Ford, you should definitely be using ForScan for detailed data gathering and analysis. I have previously used ForScan in conjunction with this device which has a physical switch for high speed and medium speed CAN bus:These numbers are based on empirical analysis of engine design and operation. They should be treated as estimates and may not be correct. If you want to have more calculators like this for power etc. please leave a comment below, I’d love to hear from you.

There are a lot of things that affect fuel consumption at idle. The calculator above gives you some clues and you can adjust all the input variables to see what effect they have. Here is a long list of factors:

Does AC waste a lot of fuel?
Despite many believing this is a common misconception, air con does in fact increase your fuel consumption. Research has found that by using your air conditioning to control the climate of your vehicle, you can actually increase your fuel consumption by around 8-10%.
My recommended goto product which is higher quality and tends to work with more apps, such as PHEV Watchdog, Nissan leaf ‘leaf spy‘ and calibrate my Triumph motorcycle.Here is a table with some typical values for fuel consumption at idle. Check out the calculator I made below if you want to estimate idling fuel consumption for your vehicle.

One of the most persistent myths is that idling is necessary to warm up a car’s engine. While it’s true that older cars needed to warm up before driving, modern engines are designed to operate efficiently even in cold temperatures. In fact, idling for more than 30 seconds can actually harm the engine by causing unnecessary wear and tear, reducing fuel efficiency and increasing emissions.
The image below explains my point more clearly. The first 200 seconds of the drive cycle the catalyst is cold, so any driving done in this portion has very high tailpipe emissions (in this case carbon monoxide). It is important that the catalyst does not cool down again below the required temperature for conversion.

Are you someone that can’t stand a middle-lane hog? Interested in the latest automotive tech trends? Data analysis to feed your geek side? See my about page for more infoFor many years, idling has been considered a necessary evil when it comes to driving. From warming up the car on a cold day to waiting for passengers or traffic, idling has been a part of our daily routine. When humans do something out of habit, myths tend to emerge to justify these habits – idling in this case. Here are a few myths that need debunking.

Most vehicles will use less than 1 litre per hour to idle. So in theory you could leave your car idling for well over 2 days, assuming that the air con and all other auxiliary loads are switched off before it runs out of fuel!If you want to get technical I strongly suggest using an OBD device to read data from the engine ECU. This way you can plug in the numbers to the calculator to reflect your vehicle.

This legislation applies to all kinds of vehicles, including private cars, buses, and taxis, on public roads. However, it is important to note that it does not apply to vehicles that are moving slowly due to road works or congestion, stopped at traffic lights, under repair or testing, or defrosting the windscreen.Are you curious why stop-start technology is gaining popularity even though most cars only use less than 1 litre of fuel per hour to idle? In Europe, every single drop of fuel saved is crucial as teams are constantly working to reduce fuel consumption by tenths of a percent. The focus on efficiency isn’t just in motorsports, but also in the design of mass-produced vehicles. In Formula 1, drivers look for tenths of a second to gain an edge, and in the automotive industry, engineers strive to save every drop of fuel possible. So while it may seem like a small amount, stop-start technology plays a crucial role in improving fuel efficiency and reducing emissions.In accordance with the Road Traffic (Vehicle Emissions) (Fixed Penalty) (England) Regulations 2002, keeping a vehicle idling is considered an offense. It is illegal to keep the engine running unnecessarily when stationary. A fixed penalty notice of £20 may be issued if the engine is not turned off after being addressed.The catalytic converter can only work when it is hot and the only way to get it hot is to run hot exhaust gas through it. The ECU will ensure that the catalyst warms up as quickly as possible and will then switch off the engine. Engine calibrators are faced with the option of burning slightly more fuel cleanly vs burning less fuel but when the engine is needed the emissions will be significantly worse, possibly dipping below the legal limit.

Is it bad to run AC while idling?
As long as the engine is running and you aren’t running low on fuel, you can keep your car idling with the AC on for as long as you’d like. . Running the AC with the engine off will also not produce cool air, since the compressor uses engine power to function.
We and our partners use cookies to Store and/or access information on a device. We and our partners use data for Personalised ads and content, ad and content measurement, audience insights and product development. An example of data being processed may be a unique identifier stored in a cookie. Some of our partners may process your data as a part of their legitimate business interest without asking for consent. To view the purposes they believe they have legitimate interest for, or to object to this data processing use the vendor list link below. The consent submitted will only be used for data processing originating from this website. If you would like to change your settings or withdraw consent at any time, the link to do so is in our privacy policy accessible from our home page..

How much gas is used idling for 1 hour?
Idling uses up to ½ gallon of fuel per hour (although it varies depending on the type and size of the engine). It may not seem like much, but idling for a few minutes everyday can cost you several dollars per week. MYTH: Engines need to warm up by idling, especially in cold weather.
Lastly, many people believe that turning off and on the engine repeatedly will cause damage. However, modern engines are designed to handle frequent start-ups without any adverse effects. In fact, idling for prolonged periods can actually cause more damage to the engine by preventing proper lubrication of the cylinders and wearing out the engine components prematurely.You may have noticed that hybrids and cars with stop start will idle the engine when they are cold? The reason for this is nothing to do with the engine warming up but actually because the catalytic converter is cold.Another common myth is that restarting the engine uses more fuel than idling. In reality, modern engines are designed to consume very little fuel during start-up, and the amount used is typically less than what would be used during idling for the same amount of time. Furthermore, the amount of fuel saved by turning off the engine during brief stops, such as at traffic lights or drive-throughs, can add up significantly over time.

I usually sit in my car with the air conditioner on and the car in idle while I wait for my kids to get out of school. How long can my car idle with the AC on before it does damage?
There are two commonly used formulas for idling fuel consumption calculation, each using different variables and assumptions. These formulas provide a useful starting point for understanding and reducing idling fuel consumption.Fuel economy is calculated as the amount of fuel consumed per unit of distance traveled. When an engine is idling, it is consuming fuel but not covering any distance, which can lower fuel economy. Additionally, idling for extended periods of time can significantly increase fuel consumption, which can further impact fuel economy.

An idling fuel consumption calculator is a tool that helps estimate the amount of fuel consumed by an engine while idling. By inputting relevant information about the engine, such as engine displacement and idling RPM, the calculator can provide a rough estimate of the fuel consumption.
Yes, idling fuel consumption can be measured and monitored using various tools and technologies, such as onboard diagnostics (OBD) systems, telematics systems, and handheld fuel consumption meters. Monitoring idling fuel consumption can help fleet operators and vehicle owners track fuel consumption and identify opportunities for improvement.Larger engines typically consume more fuel while idling compared to smaller engines, as they have more cylinders and require more fuel to maintain idle speed. Idling RPM can also affect fuel consumption, with higher RPM resulting in higher fuel consumption.

Is idling for more than 60 seconds fuel efficient?
If you’re going to be stopped for more than 60 seconds – except in traffic – turn the engine off. Unnecessary idling wastes money and fuel, and produces greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change.
The Fraser Basin Council launched E3 Fleet in 2006 in cooperation with Climate Change Central (Alberta) and Fleet Challenge. Since October 2016, the program has been managed by Fleet Challenge Inc.The E3 Fleet program reflects the commitment and expertise of many people, including some of the country’s most innovative fleet managers. All have a common passion – to see Canada’s fleets take a cleaner, green road to the future.

Join E3 Fleet! No matter your sector, nature your work or size of your fleet, E3 Fleet offers good value for money. You can sign up for Fleet Review and Fleet Rating services when you choose, and your whole team gains access to resources in our E3 Fleet Toolkit.
Welcome to the Idling Cost Calculator. This calculator estimates the financial and environmental costs of unnecessary idling, based on vehicle type and present operating conditions. It also estimates cost savings (and return on investment) of idling reduction technologies such as cab heaters, engine block heaters, and auxiliary power units (APUs).

How much fuel does a car idle with AC consume?
How much petrol does a car’s air conditioner consume per 100 kilometres? A car’s air conditioner consumes around 0.2 to 1 litre of petrol every 10 kilometres. A car’s air conditioner consumes around 0.2 to 1 litre of petrol every 10 kilometres.
The E3 Fleet Charter members were also pivotal to its success: Auto-Gas Propane, BC Hydro, BC Ministry of Environment, City of Coquitlam, Corporation of Delta, Enbridge, City of Hamilton, Hydro One, City of Kelowna, Township of Langley, District of Maple Ridge, City of North Vancouver, Novex Couriers, City of Prince George, District of Saanich, University of BC and Municipality of Whistler. We’ve enjoyed the journey so far, and it’s only just begun. Join us!E3 Fleet offers information and tools to help you increase fuel efficiency in your fleet, reduce harmful emissions, manage expenses, and incorporate new technologies, fuels and best management practices. We offer Fleet Review and Fleet Rating, unique opportunities for you to boost fleet performance and receive recognition for that achievement.

We use Mailchimp as our marketing platform. By clicking below to subscribe, you acknowledge that your information will be transferred to Mailchimp for processing. Learn more about Mailchimp’s privacy practices here.You also have the option to sign up for our newsletter and other relevant updates including, but not limited to, bulletins, discontinuation notices and marketing information. We will never sell your information to any third parties. You can unsubscribe at any time from receiving HOTSTART information. Please view our Privacy Policy for complete information.

This website uses cookies to create a positive online experience that is informative and personal while providing additional user-functionality. The cookies we use do not store personally identifiable information, nor can they harm your computer. To learn more about our use of cookies, click on the Cookie Notice page of this website.Shortline and Class I railroads looking to save money on their fuel budgets can benefit from idle reduction systems. Eliminating idling in cold temperatures is the easiest way to cut fuel costs during the winter. To calculate how much you can save with an idle reduction system, enter your information into our Fuel Consumption Calculator below. For railroads with EMD or GE engines, please refer to the linked lists detailing fuel consumption at idle for various engine models. We will never sell your information to any third parties. You can unsubscribe at any time from receiving HOTSTART information. Please view our Privacy Policy for complete information. Fuel Cost at Idle (FC): The calculator returns the fuel costs at idle in U.S. dollars. However, this can be automatically converted to compatible units via the pull-down menu.