A Look at the True Cost of Idling


Truck drivers have a lot of responsibility when they are on the road, safety being the biggest concern. Because of the risks that come from driving while fatigued, federal regulations require drivers to take 10 hours of rest for every 11 hours spent driving. Extreme weather temperatures or poor road conditions can increase fatigue. Keeping drivers comfortable during these resting periods so they can get enough sleep to stay alert and make safe decisions while on the road is essential for the safety of both the driver and all motorists.

When the temperatures begin cooling down in the fall and winter months, many truck drivers begin worrying about not being able to restart their engines after these long breaks from driving. This is because colder temperatures can cause the engine oil to thicken and the batteries begin to lose their cranking power. Since many drivers rely entirely on a battery system through the winter months, their solution is to simply not turn the engine off, which is known as idling. So many drivers leave their trucks idling for hours at a time as opposed to taking the risk of turning off their engine and having their truck not restart.

Drivers also idle their engines so they can run the heating or air conditioning in the cab, especially while parked overnight. Without using the air conditioning or heating, temperatures in the cab are impossible to regulate and leaving the windows open is a security risk.

Idle or Family Vacation?

Idling is an expensive solution to this problem as a typical truck burns one gallon of diesel fuel for each hour it idles. So if this truck were to idle for 10 hours a day, 300 days a year, it would end up using 3,ooo gallons of fuel per year simply while it is idling. At the cost of $2.60 per gallon of diesel, this ends up wasting $7,800 on fuel, just from idling. To put this cost in perspective, the average family of 4 spends $4,580 on a vacation.

Idling the engine also causes twice the wear and tear on parts compared to driving at regular speeds. This wear and tear can add up quickly, costing around $39 per day in maintenance costs for the average long haul driver.

Idling trucks also emit significant amounts of pollution such as carbon dioxide, which is a factor in global climate change, nitrogen oxides, which are a factor in ozone smog, and carbon monoxide. And when drivers sit in idling vehicles they are exposed to this pollution at higher rates than when the vehicle is in motion since there is no air flow to vent the emissions. An APU emits 80 to 90% less pollution when running than the typical diesel engine in a long haul truck.

Because of the wasted fuel and negative effects to the environment, most states have enforced anti-idling legislation. Drivers can receive fines as high as $20,000 or even jail time for idling their trucks for extended periods of time. Here is a visual breakdown of the impact of idling your truck.


The costs associated with idling make the use of an auxiliary power unit an easy one to make. An APU built for a commercial truck is a small diesel engine that has its own heating and cooling system, and air conditioning compressor, and is kept in an enclosure and mounted to one of the frame rails of a semi-truck.

2.3 million Diesel trucks are in the U.S. and roughly 600,000 of these are equipped with sleeper cabs. These trucks are perfect for housing APUs to maintain climate control and perform other functions, such as providing on-board power.

Drivers who choose to use an APU only burn about 0.10 of a gallon of diesel per hour. Using the same figures as above, using an APU would save an average of 2,834 gallons of  fuel per year and it would eliminate the additional maintenance fees and overall wear and tear on the engine.

There are many different APUs to choose from but the HP2000 is the only APU utilizing our patented heat pump system. The Heat-Pump technology was designed by the company founder and owner Gary Parks. By using excess engine heat, the HP2000 is able to provide heat even during the coldest of temperatures without needing a fuel fired heater. The HP2000 generates as much as 20,000 BTUs of heating.

The HP2000 allows drivers to turn off the main engine and to simply enter in the desired temperature to the digital controller. The HP2000 will then provide warm or cold air as it simultaneously charges batteries and power electronics. And with the savings on gas and maintenance costs, for the average driver the HP2000 will nearly pay for itself in the first 12 months of ownership.

With the winter months quickly approaching, the HP2000 is a good investment to keep you safe both on and off the road.

Unnecessary Idling wastes money, reduces engine life, and creates pollution. It is easy overlook all the costs associated with idling but, doing so is wasting your hard earned money.