Truck Idling versus Fuel Economy: Every Minute Counts

–By Chuck Lane, Solution Engineer, Webtech Wireless
Idling for longer periods of time—whether at a job site, railroad crossing, or pulled off to the side of the road to make a cell phone call—consumes gasoline that could be saved by simply turning off the engine.


Idling truck Eliminating an hour of idling per day produces significant cost savings and emissions reductions over the course of a year. For fleets operating Class 3 and larger trucks, the savings are even more significant. For example, a typical truck burns a half-gallon of Diesel fuel for every hour it idles and, in the process, adds the equivalent of 40 miles of wear-and-tear to the engine. If you want to green your fleet by reducing emissions, you need to decrease fuel consumption, and the easiest way to do so is to decrease unnecessary idling.

For example, every gallon of gasoline burned idling creates 19.5 lbs. of CO2. Similarly, every gallon of Diesel burned idling creates 22.4 lbs. of CO2

The key is to be able to measure idling accurately. There are idling reports (using non BUS connectors) that simply calculate the time between ignition on and ignition off, and then subtract the time while moving to equal the actual idling time. This type of idle reporting, however, proves to be inaccurate for drivers that use the ignition to access the vehicle for things like radio and air conditioning, while leaving the engine off (Key On, Engine Off).

This type of scenario can be mitigated. If we install the Webtech Wireless Locator (GPS Unit) ignition wire to ignition on—avoiding accessory key position—the driver can then go to accessory position without affecting the Locator operation.  This is true for most light-duty vehicles. Most heavy-duty trucks/tractors have a key on and engine off alarm, so drivers don’t spend a lot of time in the key on, engine off scenario (the alarm is a soul piercing, shrieking high-pitch buzzer).

Webtech Wireless conducted a study with a major customer where we compared ignition on/off durations, to engine on durations.  The plan was to target this key on, engine off scenario.  We found a 2.7 percent deviation between ignition cycles and engine cycles. So for 100 minutes of key on, 97 minutes were engine on.  As this was so low, the customer accepted the Webtech Wireless Idle report using ignition cycles and not engine cycles.

Of course, the Non-Bus Idle report is completely different from the BUS-related (such as JBUS, CanBus, or OBDII) reports that actually report engine hours to be used in idle calculations. Webtech Wireless conducted the above study with the assumption that future non DLOGS (Driver Logs)/ HOS (Hours of Service) installations would avoid the BUS entirely.  We really have no control over the BUS and the failed elements that sometimes occur with customer vehicles.  We’ve already enabled odometer GPS to eliminate the BUS impact on the Locator odometer.  We found that over 2,500 tractors measured during fuel tax testing, had more errors with BUS than with non-BUS GPS (see Why Increased Accuracy Matters).

While it’s possible to gather idling information from both GPS and BUS related statistics, any vehicle that has a DLOGS/HOS system must be intrinsically synchronized with the vehicle BUS connection. In laymen’s terms, DOT (Department of Transportation) compliance requires a BUS connection.  We can’t avoid BUS anymore, if the solution is supporting DOT.  Fuel tax compliancy does not require BUS connectivity.  IFTA (International Fuel Tax Agreement) regulations state ‘use an odometer’, and don’t require that the vehicle BUS odometer be the only one used.

In conclusion, non DOT system installations can use ignition and GPS data to measure vehicle idling accurately. Reducing unnecessary idling is the simplest way for a fleet to reduce fuel costs and unnecessary emissions. In addition, excess idling causes needless engine wear-and-tear and unnecessary noise pollution. A typical goal for many fleets is to reduce engine idling time to less than 5%, a goal that motivates many fleets to implement anti-idling initiatives.

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A Week of Writing, May 14 to 20

Once again, this week has seen much work that is as yet unseen. I’ve been talking to project managers in Iowa, sales managers in Montréal, and managing editors in southern France, but none of that work is going to be published this week. Instead, I have several technical stories festoon my gallery of corporate blog posts. Enjoy!

Webtech WirelessI worked with Product Marketing Manager, Irtiza Zaidi at Webtech Wireless to describe his experiences at the Petroleum Safety Conference in Banff, Alberta a couple of weeks ago. The oil and gas industry is extremely dangerous and technology is one way to keep drivers (and those using the roads) safer.

 

Summer Driving in BC: How Safe Is It? describes how reduced truck inspection, increased highway usage, and distracted driving conditions, are making BC’s roads increasingly like a “war zone”.

 

How-Safe-Are-Your-Government-Disability-BenefitsHow Safe Are Your Government Disability Benefits? describes various ways public sector disability benefits are being eroded by government action and inaction. CTV reporting on this is quite revealing.

 

Watch out: Canadian(s) about…” is my homage to some great hiking trails I explored in the South of France (around Nice) last December. Le Magazine Azur, where its published, is based out of Antibes. While being an online magazine, it publishes every two months like a print magazine.

 

Oil and Gas Safety: What’s Working/ What’s Not

IrtizaIrtiza Zaidi is the Product Marketing Manager at Webtech Wireless.  He works closely with the safety professionals in many companies in the oil patch.

Recently, he attended the Petroleum Safety Conference—billed as “Canada’s premiere oil and gas safety conference and tradeshow”—in Banff, Alberta, for a few days to learn more about safety concerns in the oil and gas industry.

Below are his latest discoveries about the Conference and safety professionals.


Irtiza Zaidi: “Before I dive into the meat and potatoes, I wanted to share some insight into the safety profession and the folks I interacted with. I went to one breakout session led by Imperial Oil, which was quite an eye opener. The purpose was to describe the risks that safety professionals take every day on the job and how they deal with them. The idea is that, before we can start preaching to others, let’s evaluate ourselves first.

Now the view I had of safety folks was they were risk averse by-the-book people. They worked Monday to Friday and in their off time did everything possible to avoid risk. They would never cross a yellow light while driving nor would they park without paying. Well, was I was in for a shock!

We had some safety people talking about how they chased storms in Alberta. Winter storms, rain storms, blizzards, and how they had been doing this for 15 years. Another safety person talked about how they wore helmets on their motorcycles while travelling at speeds of 120 on the Canadian highways, but once they got to the US, the helmets came off. Or the safety person who jumped between moving boats in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean while it was raining, so she could help out with a lobster catch.

The presentations I attended were delivered well and the topics of immense importance. Colonel Mark Trostel, Driving Safety Advisor with Encana, presented, Driving Safety: Enhancing Performance, Reducing Exposure, in which he described some of the challenges of using in-cab audible feedback (such as buzzers and beeps), to try to change driver behaviour. He provided helpful statistical information as well as first-hand knowledge of the affect alerts have on drivers.

Here are some statistics shared in this presentation:

40% of all fatalities in the energy industry occur in vehicles

Leading indicators of crashes

–          Excessive Braking, following too closely, distracted driving

–          Rapid starts and aggressive or reckless driving

–          Habitual speeding dramatically increases risk and severity of accidents

–          Frequent Lateral “Gs” are precursors to a rollover crash

Encana’s AVL program for its light-duty vehicles provides

–          Driver scorecards that were emailed to the driver each week

–          Supervisors with the ability to review their drivers’ driving habits

What worked?

–          Providing drivers with feedback about their performance on a weekly basis

–          Providing incentives to drivers with good behavior worked

–          Having drivers compare themselves with their peers led to the drivers creating their own “Top 100 Club”

What didn’t work?

–          Driver feedback by way of audible tones or flashing lights only lasted three weeks before the drivers went back to their old driving patterns.”

“Safe Driving Programs – Why Should I Care?” by Colonel Mark Trostel, EnCana in 2010

A Week of Writing, May 7 to 13

Big news this week is that last week’s gains continue to drive writing efforts forward. The French translation of my first article for Le Magazine Azur will be complete by the week-end, and my application that won Webtech Wireless the 2012 Adoption of Technology award continues to reverberate through that company. CEO, Scott Edmonds, said, “now we can call ourselves an award-winning software company”.

Pro-EOBR Campaign Gaining GroundPro-EOBR Campaign Gaining Ground describes efforts by trucking associations to get the Canadian government to legislate in favour of mandatory electronic onboard recorders (EOBRs). These devices replace paper logs books that drivers use to track their hours. EOBRs are considered safer and more reliable in the industry.

 

Long-Term Disability: What If You’re Employer Goes Broke? is based on the federal government’s 2012 budget that includes a requirement for companies to insure their long-term disability plans.

 

 

Getting The Car Accident Trauma Help You Need is sadly based on a real-life tragedy and serves as the springboard for understanding how to deal with ICBC if you’re in a MVA.

 

I turned some creative writing into a movie just for fun. It was fun, but it cost money too. In my new little film, I was amused at the idea that our brains grew not to accommodate our needs, but exactly the other way around.

 

Pro-EOBR Campaign Gaining Ground

Pro-EOBR Campaign Gaining GroundOn May 2, 2012, The Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) said that its campaign to provide carriers, drivers, owner-operators with an easy way to send pro-EOBR messages to federal MPs is gaining ground. According to the CTA, “To date, several hundred carrier companies and individual drivers have sent about 1,500 messages directly to MPs from across Canada.”

The web forums are crackling with debate both for and against electronic on-board recorders (EOBRs). Many comments cannot be reprinted here, but some point to a rich fabric of support for EOBRs—from fleets owners to independent drivers. Ultimately, EOBRs support accountable drivers.

“Bring on the EOBRs. Drivers need a wakeup call as to the hours they’re putting in and not getting paid.”

If you’d like to weigh in for EOBR support, here’s what you can do:

1. Look up your Member of Parliament (for Canadians only).

2. Choose from the following links:

Company owners and fleet managers

Drivers

3. Complete the form and choose Submit.

4. Alternatively, by typing a four-digit text code, drivers can send a message to their MPs from a cell phone. Simply text the letters eobr to the number 77777.

Federal Transport Minister, Denis Lebel, said EOBRs can “improve Hours of Service regulatory compliance by reducing the opportunity for commercial drivers to exceed regulated driving hours or falsify logbooks”. Lebel added that “a technically flexible, performance-based EOBR standard, combined with a suitable phase-in period would hopefully allow sufficient time for suppliers to offer cost-effective options meeting the needs of carriers and drivers”.

CTA president, David Bradley, agrees with this statement adding, “While we understand that there is a minority in the industry who may oppose an EOBR mandate, it’s important that decision makers hear from those who have experience with EOBRs in enhancing compliance and making highways safer.”

“Our efforts show that there are many carriers and drivers who are clearly in favour of replacing outdated paper logbooks with more efficient and compliant electronic monitoring devices,”
—David Bradley, President, Canadian Trucking Alliance

Transport Canada supports the development of an EOBR standard that leverages the work done in the United States. It is in favour of a harmonized North American standard that Transport Canada states, “Ultimately, a harmonized North American standard would be ideal in consideration of the importance of domestic and cross-border trade.”

Meanwhile in the United States, the American Truckers’ Association (ATA) and the Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) are squaring off about mandated HOS solutions. The ATA maintains that EOBRs make roads safer and drivers more accountable, while the OOIDA counters that it poses an infringement of drivers’ rights and is prohibitively expensive for smaller independent trucking companies.

“Clearly, these devices lead to greater compliance with maximum driving limits, which is very good for the trucking industry as a whole and highway safety.”
— Bill Graves, President and CEO, American Truckers’ Association

NAFA – Embracing the Future

We were at the NAFA 2012 trade show (North America Fleet Managers Association) in St. Louis and one of the highlights of the show was the keynote presentation, Making Sense of the Future, given by Dr. Peter Bishop, PhD. Together with other trade show attendees, we gathered in full force and in great anticipation to hear Dr. Bishop provide a wide vision of the future of debt, oil & resources, people and demographics, automotive market and emerging technologies.

Patrick Lizotte, our account manager in Quebec and eastern North America said, “Dr. Bishop invited us to look into change versus sudden change, and our relationship and involvement with technology and computers; that is, how we are evolving and adapting ourselves toward the computer era”.

Some of the topics he presented included:

  • Which trends and technologies impact on our business?
  • Which scenarios of the future are imaginable?
  • What will we probably have to face and what not?
  • Which surprising changes of direction could the future take?
  • Which new future markets and business models are imaginable for us?
  • Which alternative designs for the future of our company exist?
  • What do we need to do to use our opportunities and secure our future?

Dr. Bishop concluded his presentation with a simple two-word recommendation, “Stay Awake”. – Be certain to handle Future and Change.

Dr. Peter Bishop is an associate professor of Human Sciences and chair of the graduate program in Studies of the Future at the University of Houston-Clear Lake. Dr. Bishop specializes in techniques for long-term forecasting and planning. He delivers keynote addresses, conducts seminars on the future for business, government and not-for-profit organizations, and also facilitates groups in developing scenarios, visions and strategic plans for the future.

A Week of Writing, April 30 to May 6

This has been another epic week of writing for me, although some of it won’t appear online just yet. For example, I just wrote an article for Magazine Azur, but its awaiting translation to French so it won’t be published for a few more weeks.

On May 2, 2012, I attended the BCTIA Techbrew event where it was announced that Webtech Wireless was nominated for the Adoption of Technology award. I pre-wrote this blog about the event to which I updated and added photos later that night to be ready for its scheduled release at 5:40 am PST (early enough for eastern readers).

 

Webtech WirelessI found out that the agency that looks after Webtech Wireless’ news releases particularly mentioned the quality of the Quadrant Manager Mobile news release I wrote. I haven’t been writing a lot of their news releases, so that’s great to hear.

 

Magazine AzurStay tuned for an article in Magazine Azur (it’s written and submitted, but not yet published). Two Canadians—one English; one French—experience the trials and triumphs of travelling in the south of France. I wrote the English and my friend and fellow traveller, Sylvie Soucis, is translating it into French. “Où est le &#@* train.”

 

Celebrating Mental Health Week: May 7-13, 2012 describes the loopholes private insurers use to elude quite valid claims from people who pay for private insurance.

 

 

May is the Month of Motor Safety is another timely blog post based on a recent news release from the Vancouver Police Department’s announcement that it will be targeting dangerous drivers in May. I go on to warn of the dangers of entirely trusting one’s accident claim to an ICBC Adjuster. AS a public entity doing the work of a private insurer, ICBC is in an ongoing conflict of interest with every claim it settles.

I wrote an article called, Long-Term Disability Claims: A Cross-Country Check, which highlights stories across Canada affecting those with long-term disabilities. I didn’t know there was a Rick Hansen coin?

A Week of Writing, April 23 to 29

I’m in such a state of production, that I didn’t realize I’d written two blog posts for Webtech Wireless (our goal is one per week), so that’s why there are two.

Webtech Wireless’ InterFleet client, Ville de Québec is among seven finalists for this year’s Intelligent Community award for web savvy and innovative cities.

 

Quadrant Manager goes Mobile describes the latest, greatest to the Webtech Wireless suite of Quadrant products: Quadrant Manager Mobile for iPad and iPhone.

 

 

I researched a quick and wrote a quick ICBC Accident Checklist for those in British Columbia who’ve had a motor vehicle accident and need to know what to do next. There’s a downloadable version you can print and keep in your car too.

 

Ville de Québec Top Finalist for Intelligent Community Award

Ville de QuébecWe are thrilled to report that Ville de Québec (Quebec City) is among seven finalists for the municipally coveted 2012 Intelligent Community award.

Since 2001, Ville de Québec has been actively developing its broadband infrastructure and, in 2009 as part of its commitment to bettering itself as an intelligent community, implemented our InterFleet solution to its winter fleet operations.

Each year, the Intelligent Community Forum presents this award to intelligent communities that “have come to understand the enormous challenges of the broadband economy, and have taken conscious steps to create an economy capable of prospering in it”.  The awards program has two goals: to salute the accomplishments of communities in developing inclusive prosperity on a foundation of information and communications technology, and to gather data for ICF’s research programs.

As part of Ville de Québec’s commitment to promoting web-based solutions, the city launched an interactive Web map to provide high-quality cartographic and zoning data. Among other capabilities, the map displays real-time locations of the city’s snow plows. “Through smarter deployment of plows, the city has been able to reduce the number of vehicles and operating expenses per vehicle while providing better results.”

In 2009, Ville de Québec chose Webtech Wireless’ InterFleet solution for their snow plows and winter fleet operational information, because it offered real-time information (five-second reporting and automatic map updates), support for multiple spreader controllers, and great road salt management capabilities.

The seven finalists for the Award (in alphabetical order):

  • Austin, Texas, United States
  • Oulu, Finland
  • Quebec City, Quebec, Canada
  • Riverside, California, United States
  • Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada
  • Stratford, Ontario, Canada
  • Taichung City, Taiwan

More About Québec’s Award Nomination

Quadrant Manager goes Mobile

Our “Win an iPad from Webtech Wireless” promotion at the four trade shows we’re attending this spring is proving very popular, while serving the purpose as an avenue for launching our mobile version of Quadrant Manager.

Quadrant Mobile Manager iPad

The Quadrant Manager Mobile for the iPhone and iPad is really a new way of viewing Quadrant Manager, this time on an iOS interface. It gives fleet managers the same ability to view strategic real-time information about their fleet, but without needing to log into a desktop computer (such as what they’d find in a Dispatch office). This iPhone and iPad capability is enabled automatically for users who already access Quadrant Manager from their office.

To clear up any confusion that this is another offering of our Quadrant In-Cab MDT device, it is not. That solution—providing CSA and HOS capabilities to drivers—is indeed mobile, but does not offer the enterprise level insight into fleet operations as does Quadrant Manager.

Quadrant Manager Mobile iPhone

Our customers have told us that mobile devices like the iPhone and iPad are critical to improving their productivity. Quadrant Manager Mobile now enables you to maximize the Quadrant Manager information you need—in the field, in real-time.

Remember, if you’re attending any of the trade shows that we are exhibiting at, visit the Webtech Wireless booth and sign up to win one of four Apple Resolutionary iPads. Click here to find our booth location.