“We like electronic engine parameters, but drivers find ways to override them.”

Vice President of Maintenance

Executive Summary

Electronic engine parameters can be set to limit the amount of main engine idling. These can include controls that cause idle shutdown after three to five minutes, or based on ambient air temperature.

Electronic engines allow fleets to set parameters in a wide variety of areas. These parameters can control the exact speed for idling the engine, set the idle timer length and establish the boundaries of when idling is allowed in both hot and cold temperatures. Parameter names vary by engine maker. Typical fleet temperature limits were 75°F as an upper limit and between -10°F and 25°F on the lower limit.

Introduction to Idle Reduction
Common Fleet Strategies

Some fleets are pursuing idle-reduction strategies that allow them to make only a minimal investment in technology coupled with a larger investment in driver engagement. This strategy is based on using a fuel-operated air heater for cold support and employing electronic engine idle parameters such as ambient air shutdown, and then training drivers and providing them incentives to engage in behavior that limits idling. All four of these technologies must be used in concert to be an effective idle-reduction strategy. 

What Others Are Saying
Decision-Making Tools

There are already a wide variety of payback calculators for any given type of idle-reduction system. In an effort to meet the industry’s need for more information, we have also developed a high-level payback equation to aid fleets in choosing the right combination of technologies.

Decision-Making Tools


Every engine manufacturer offers electronic engine idle parameters. In fact, the programmable features are now standard on every new vehicle manufactured. However, fleet managers must ensure parameters are set to reduce idling.


Electronic engine idle parameters are part of every truck manufactured and so do not add cost to the fleet. The key is for fleet managers to set parameters based on their operating conditions so that drivers can be comfortable. When coupled with a fuel-operated air heater and supported by driver training and incentives, this is a cost-efficient solution that also meets drivers’ needs.