Lately, the weather in most places I have been had been perfect from a temperature perspective to sleep without heating or air conditioning. In fact, there has not been a need to use my Park Smart HVAC System. I find it amusing when I walk around the travel center the vast majority of trucks are still sitting and idling. My question becomes are they trying to stay warm or cold because the temperature has varied between 65 and 75 degrees. It makes me think of an antique truck at a museum which had a plaque mounted on the dash to inform the driver of the reasons not to idle the truck unnecessarily. Now I am a person who perfectly understands that you must have the truck warm or cold to be able to sleep comfortably. Times, when I do not know when a truck is idling, is when there is no one inside the truck and the temperature is absolutely beautiful out.
Recently I arrived at a shipper early on a Sunday, and there was a truck already parked there, the temperature was beautiful, and I noticed the truck was running. I thought to myself that maybe it was cold when he got there. As the day wore on the truck continued to idle and idled through the night and all the way into the next morning. Amongst many other things, I was glad I was not paying the fuel bill in that truck.
There are all sorts of reasons beyond fuel usage to not idle. The main one being you are wearing out a massive engine for no purpose which leads me to another story about a driver that left all of his lights on. He was out of the truck and was on his way into the truck stop. As he started to walk away from his truck I asked him if he knew he had left his lights on. He replied, “Yes I know I left them on purpose as it makes my truck start more often.” I said to him “Why do you want your truck to start more often?” He informed me that his truck has optimized idle and leaving all the accessories on would run the battery down and thus defeating the purpose of optimized idle. Turns out his goal was to overcome his company’s idle policy. I shook my head and moved on.
As the owner of my truck I have always gone to great lengths to not idle, and his reply baffled me. Over the years I have used 12-volt heating pads, window fans, and extra blankets to avoid costly idling of my trucks power plant. This is a significant expense that can be avoided with a little care, and I see many drivers focus on how to idle more than necessary.
In the end, a truck will last longer, have fewer repairs, and be less costly if not idled. Yet this ongoing battle of unnecessary idling continues, there are manufacturer recommendations, government regulations, and company policies, yet unnecessary idling continues. When will the abuse quit?