Skip to content
Free Shipping On All Orders Over $49.99
Free Shipping On All Orders Over $49.99


Should Diesel Motors Be Left Idling?

Why do truckers leave the motors idling when it wastes fuel?

Should Diesel Motors Be Left Idling?

Should Diesel Motors Be Left Idling?

If you've ever wondered why diesel motors are left idling at truck stops, the answer is not as simple as you might think. Yes, idling diesel motors emit exhaust fumes and consume fuel, but there are strategic reasons behind this behavior.


Truckers face a unique set of challenges as they transport cargo across the country. A semi-truck is essentially a self-contained world that has to move cargo efficiently and safely while keeping a close eye on costs.

Generally speaking, turning off a diesel motor rather than letting it idle  will not cause any harm to the engine itself. In fact, turning off the engine may actually be better for the motor in the long run because it reduces wear and tear.

When a diesel motor idles for an extended period, it consumes fuel. It also produces exhaust fumes. This can lead to carbon buildup on the engine's  piston rings and cylinder walls. This causes a decrease in engine performance over time.

On the other hand, turning off the engine when it is not in use reduces fuel consumption and prevents carbon buildup on the engine. This can help to maintain the engine's performance and prolong its lifespan.

However, there may be certain situations where idling the engine is necessary, such as when it is very cold and the engine needs to warm up, or when electrical systems, such as air conditioning or refrigeration, need to remain operational. 

When a truck is idle, the motor is still working to keep the driver warm, recharge batteries, and power other necessary systems. A driver needs a self-contained living space to function on the road, and a truck's diesel motor makes this possible.

Fuel Costs

It is difficult to estimate the fuel consumption saving worldwide if all truckers were to turn off their motors instead of letting them idle while stopped.

It depends on a variety of factors such as the number of trucks on the road, the frequency and duration of idling, and the fuel efficiency of the trucks.

However, there have been some studies that have estimated potential fuel savings from reducing idling. According to a report by the US Department of Energy, long-haul trucks in the United States idle for an average of 1,800 hours per year, which consumes approximately 1 billion gallons (3.8 billion liters) of diesel fuel and emits 11 million metric tons of CO2 annually. The report says that reducing idling by 50% could save up to 500 million gallons (1.9 billion liters) of diesel fuel! This would prevent the emission of 5 million metric tons of CO2 per year.

This estimate is only for the United States. It gives you an idea of the potential fuel savings and emission reductions that could be achieved if truckers worldwide reduced their idling.

However, it's important to note that reducing idling may not be feasible or practical in all situations, such as extreme weather conditions or when operating certain equipment that requires idling.

Embed this infographic on your site.

Why do truckers leave the motors idling when it wastes fuel?
Previous article Are You Ready to Explore a New World of Career Opportunities? These Remote Jobs Could Change Your Life.


Cara Reid - June 10, 2020

I have always wondered if it’s okay for a diesel truck to be running while it’s not in motion. I have witnessed a lot of trucks in the outskirts of parking lots just sitting idle.

Leave a comment

Comments must be approved before appearing

* Required fields