Trucking Risk and Insurance Podcast

The Idling Epidemic, It's Not What You Think. With Ron Zima

September 02, 2022 John Farquhar & Chris Harris Season 2
Trucking Risk and Insurance Podcast
The Idling Epidemic, It's Not What You Think. With Ron Zima
Show Notes Transcript

Ron Zima, The Idle Free Guy,  would love to hear from you. What did you think of his comments? Will you go Idle Free? Is Idle Free just a pipe-dream? 
Let us know your thoughts!

Get in touch with Ron here:
Contact Ron, IDLE FREE Guy™ at GoGreen Communications Inc.:
info@GoIDLEFREE.com 

Sample the lessons and LIKE our Facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/IDLE.FREE.for.our.kids 

IDLE FREE Guy™ Media 
https://docs.goidlefree.com/IDLE-FREE-Guy-Media 


John Farquhar
Summit Risk Solutions: summitrisksolutions.ca
1 226 802-2762
John@summitrisksolutions.ca


Chris Harris
Safety Dawg Inc: safetydawg.com
Chris@SafetyDawg.com
1 905 973 7056



Keeping it Safety Dawg Simple!
#trucksafety #truckinsurance #truckpodcast

Chris Harris, Safety Dawg:

And thanks for joining us on the trucking risk and insurance podcast. This week, our guest is the Idle Free Guy, Mr. Ron Zima, come on in here, John and Ron. Hey, Mr.

Ron Zima, Idle Free Guy:

Ron. Hey guys. Hey, very nice to meet you. John. Yes, you too. You

John Farquhar, Summit Risk Solutions:

too well, and I'm so glad to finally meet you. I've heard so much about, yeah, I've seen some of your videos, but to actually see you in person and know that the three of us now are sitting here as a common folk because we all have a tie together.

Ron Zima, Idle Free Guy:

Yes. Big foreheads and Harry chins. Yes, there

John Farquhar, Summit Risk Solutions:

you are.

Chris Harris, Safety Dawg:

Ron was the very first guest. and I think this, I, my God, have we done a hundred episodes? Yes. We're over slightly over a hundred episodes now. And Ron was the very first cast when the podcast was called the trucking, what was it? The Dawg on a trucking pod. That's and that was Ron's name by the way. He came up with that.

Ron Zima, Idle Free Guy:

Thank you tell it's no longer around . Chris Harris, Safety Dawg: Hey, Yes. What the heck, let me ask you this. Sure. Why did you pick up this mantle of all the things that you could try to change in the world? Why did you pick especially commercial vehicles, idling away for no money? For no reason for very little benefit. Great question. Excellent opening question. And the reason this started at my kids elementary school back in 2005, the winter of 2005, 2006, my kids were in grade four and it was about this time I was outside the school pick up my kids and I was idling. My. Along with 40 other people And then I started looking at the other schools and then the school buses and and then my. My kids principal told me, Ron, it's really bad idling around the schools is really bad. I'm going, yeah, I can see that. She says, oh, it's so bad. At the previous school, our staff and kids were getting sick every afternoon. And we found out it was, yeah, it was the drop off loop every day. About two o'clock, two 30 and they would be vent. The exhaust emissions inside the school. Oh, wow. Inadvertently obviously, but Not intentionally. Of course. Yeah. And and just like me and I was going and I went home, did some research on the web. And that's when it blew me away, it was like 6.6 billion gallons a year that Canadians and Americans spend idling, their vehicles going nowhere unintentionally it's unconscious idling behavior. And I'm here to tell you that I'm not holier than thou that I documented my program, how I used to ID. 200 engine hours a year. And and I calculate all the costs since I went idle free two in 2004. It's astronomical. It's. I don't have the exact figure in front of me. You think I would, I think it's about eight or nine grand Canadian, about seven grand us. That's just in fuel. That's not counting downstream costs, which idle has on the insides of your vehicle. So that's pretty much why it started, but I was the Canadian idler myself. Yep. Yep. And now a lot of us are.

Chris Harris, Safety Dawg:

Yeah. We all, until you're conscious of it. I think we all do it. Yeah. Oh yeah. John, the other day you had said to me that if you get a phone call for example, and it's gonna be a long In not intense, but a long phone call. You'll pull off the highway. When you pull off the highway, do you turn your car off?

John Farquhar, Summit Risk Solutions:

That's a very good question because if it's hot out,

Ron Zima, Idle Free Guy:

no, I'm leaving

John Farquhar, Summit Risk Solutions:

it on so I can keep the air conditioner flowing. If it's a middle of winter, no, I'm keeping the heat going.

Ron Zima, Idle Free Guy:

And

John Farquhar, Summit Risk Solutions:

most times I would say no for the simple fact, if I'm on the side of the road, I'm not interested in shutting my vehicle off and then rolling the windows down while I'm dealing with a phone call, cuz I'm gonna get all this road. Keep the windows up. I'm gonna suffocate. So we're gonna keep the air going. So yeah, no, you're exactly right, Chris. It's we're gonna leave the vehicle running

Chris Harris, Safety Dawg:

well and perhaps after this conversation, you'll think more about it. Where instead of, in your example of pulling off to the side of the road, you'd pull to a parking lot where there wouldn't be the same road. Hey, I did the bronze course. And after that, it's amazing how it does change your life. And one I don't drive a gas vehicle anymore, but when I did I for about two years after I did the course, I was saving hundreds of dollars a year. Yep. And sacrificing, no comfort. Sorry, Ron. I'm getting but Hey, that's great. but it is. I sacrificed no comfort. If it was in the middle of winter, I'd turn the car off. And then when it got cool in the car, I turned it on. Because now I was getting a benefit. I was getting the heat, I get it heated up again, and I could turn it off probably for 10, depending on the outside temperature. But certainly for 10 minutes, 15 minutes, sometimes 20 before I had to turn it back on again and get some heat. But

Ron Zima, Idle Free Guy:

yeah, but now here's the thing. Here's the thing. Here's why we're doing this guys and see if this rings. We are doing this because of the memes or the idling myths handed down from grandpa and the carburetor age of the sixties. So the only time we've been formally influenced on idle management of a vehicle it's from our grandfather or somebody in our. Perhaps our dad and this was going back to the sixties and the seventies. And John, if you go back, you'll recall no catalytic converters up and start OIDs. I used to be able to go be able to go under the hood of my 62 Chevy station wagon and figure out what a, you. Change the oil do all that stuff. You can't do any of that stuff today.

John Farquhar, Summit Risk Solutions:

I, I have one of those in the garage, as a matter of fact, a 1975 Buick LA saber. And yeah. There's not a computer on that car anywhere. There's no catalytic converter on that car. It's

Ron Zima, Idle Free Guy:

all very simple to work with. Yes. Pump and start. Now here's my point. My point is they had also very little install. Yep. They had very little of the stuff today that they are packed with to help you mitigate probably 95% of your idling behavior in Canada. I don't care how cold it is. Yep. So in other words, the, in our program, we lead you by the hand in terms of not only. Transforming these old incorrect beliefs, which are sadly mismatched with operating a 21st century engine today. It's the worst operating condition for an engine today. Built the last 10 years for sure. Okay. That includes a long haul truck. That includes an ambulance because they're burning those engines out. That includes a police cruiser. Yep. Cause they're burning those engines. And and basically all it is now is behavioral it's politics. It's politics. We have to get around to a time when we say, Hey, we need to educate people driving 21st century. Engine technology today, right? Cause it is really mismatched and it's costing us 6.6 billion gallons as well as really poor air quality and Toronto Hamilton. It's a direct result of why we have one of the key contributors to four times the asthma rate that we had when. And when you guys and myself were kids going to school, kids try to puffer. Yeah. Versus today you've got a 10 or 15 kids in a class carrying puffers, and it's because of this toxic soup. And we think, Hey, those, all those exhaust emissions have been so cleaned up that he he can't even see them anymore. But they are still very toxic and dangerous and they're very rich. In carbon emissions. So it's a huge opportunity to do a lot of things with the flick of a key, but to get to the flick of the key, you have to be able to modify a person's belief. Yes. That they've grown up with. That's so entrenched for the last three 30 or 40 years, you're just, Hey yeah, no restarts are. Yeah.

John Farquhar, Summit Risk Solutions:

Idling is good and long warmups are essence. And it's funny because the technology today, a lot of these manufacturers are now creating auto start. So you'll come to a stop sign or a stoplight, and you apply the brake when the vehicle comes to a stop, it shuts off. Yep. As soon as you release the brake and move your foot to the gas pedal, boom, it automatically starts up again. Aspect is now gone. This it's not good to restart your vehicle. That's wrong. No. It's great because the manufacturers are putting it in automatically

Ron Zima, Idle Free Guy:

now. Exactly. And in our program. Andrew, MCee the general manager of of our auto experts and the car dealer that we actually visit. And they blow out the idling myths with us with the 21st century technology inside the the service bay and I'm interviewing Andrew right over the top of an open F150. And he says he says, today's starters. He says, you can't fathom how many times. I visited Ford and seen them and several hundred thousand starts in a year. Okay. And minimal wear. So you're going to be able to get all kinds of restarts out of today's starter. So even though. Your vehicle and by the way, John auto start stop is just a very small slice of the mark. Yes.

John Farquhar, Summit Risk Solutions:

Yeah. I know. It's not very big by any means, but yeah, just

Ron Zima, Idle Free Guy:

So the thing is that's another sort of straw man argument, people say Autostar stops gonna save us all from the siling thing. No. No. It's gonna take a long time. It's gonna be 10 years before we see a major dent with either EVs. Or auto start stop in a share of the market. So what we need to do is we need to educate people as quickly and as efficiently as possible. And by the way, they're gonna love the program. They love our program and Chris is walking testimonial. And then, so I had no idea why hasn't somebody told me this stuff.

Chris Harris, Safety Dawg:

Anyway, let me ask you a question though, going into co. commercial trucks. Do the courier type vehicles. Are you aware? Do they have this auto stop start feature? I don't think they do.

Ron Zima, Idle Free Guy:

It's really dependent upon the management of the company. Oh, okay. So management it's and you guys know this you've got reactive truck operators, class, a operators, and then you've got proactive and it's really hard to be proactive in an industry that is just so dynamic and moving all the time. And with literally moving millions of moving parts all over the. That could blow you off the road. The fact of the matter is that depending on management is how everything flows their philosophy in terms of training their drivers and treating their drivers, their philosophy on technology their philosophy on compliance, right? Yep. So if you've got leaders and they always tend to be leaders then you're gonna see, you're gonna start to see our program because they know the economics of Idle. It's massive. They know the payback is insane. And they know that it's just worth so much in downstream costs, not just fuel and carbon but then there's maintenance then there's. Chris my good friend, Rick long Bart with long Bart Ross, he's one of the top life cycle management experts in the United States and Canada. And he puts, this is the cost that he puts on life cycle from. I it's sensee us for. Mile item every hour that your vehicle sits in idle is the equivalent of 30 miles driven each one. Oh, wow. Almost cost 10 cents us life cycle and service. Take it to the bank. So as a happy medium in a recent exercise, we. just said, okay, 15 cents. I'm just gonna put a figure of the median 15 cents. He says that's perfectly. Yeah, that's perfectly fine. And so now what we find is Chris, I can not only save a fleet of say 2000 assets $3 million a year in fuel, right from their bottom line, but probably even more in the cost of life cycle. Wow. So now to take. This adding cascade of savings, you're gonna, you're gonna save huge amounts of where and think about it guys, if you are, if you're adding several hundred thousand or hundreds of thousands of engine hours on your assets, it's literally driving the asset away the life cycle where it could be spent on, on something of virtue for the business. Something.

Chris Harris, Safety Dawg:

Yeah. And I was gonna say a lot of these assets that you're referring to are often government own vehicles, whether it's the city or the province state they're often. These things are large fleets and it's our taxpayer dollars that are paying for it. And if you shorten the life cycle of a van, for instance it's our taxpayer dollars that has to replace that van eventually. And that's just from a selfish point of view of my pocketbook, but then if you look at it from I can't breathe

John Farquhar, Summit Risk Solutions:

yeah.

Ron Zima, Idle Free Guy:

Here's the big disconnect. Think about this for a. We did a white paper last year. Chris, you may recall this, but the statement was, and I don't have it here in front of me, but 40% I went out on a limb after researching this some refer to me as the expert on idle management on the planet. And certainly an idle reduction behavior modification which is flipping beliefs, erasing those old memes from the carburetor age of the sixties and bringing people up to speed for the 21st century. If we just did that. People will and by the way, drivers the rank and file when management provides this program for the rank and file, because we train them, we evangelize students on their personal vehicles. This is what you're gonna save. You have to forecast how much you're gonna save. In fuel and emissions over the next 12 calendar months with our idle free calculator, which is wildly popular. And so people go, oh my God, this is like the real world. They go up, they start seeing the idling epidemic because their eyes were closed just like mine. And now they're starting to realize, okay. We're I don't wanna make this political, but this is the huge disconnect. This isn't about politics. This is about just Hey, these are reality. So in other words, if you are looking for a gas tax holiday, And you're spending 40% of your fuel out of the back end of your vehicle on idle for no benefit. And you're asking for a tax break on gas. Yeah. Yeah. How about we do a massive campaign for Ontario that says, Hey, do you know how to idle manage your vehicle today? Cuz this is what it's gonna save you. And I'm gonna give you an example. So if your burn rate of a vehicle, John, what kind of vehicle do you. I run a

John Farquhar, Summit Risk Solutions:

2014 Jeep grand Cherokee

Ron Zima, Idle Free Guy:

diesel. Okay. So your burn rate is probably gonna be about two liters an hour at idle. Okay. Yep. So if John is sitting there idling his Jeep for two an hour a day that's two liters a day. Okay. Let's say 250. Okay. So that's, that's 500 liters. How much is a meter gas now in, in Ontario. Oh, Craig, I just paid a dollar

John Farquhar, Summit Risk Solutions:

90 a liter yesterday when I topped up.

Ron Zima, Idle Free Guy:

So yeah. Okay. 500 liters. You're pay you're you're spending about a thousand bucks a year right there. You're spending a thousand bucks here on iLink and it's the worst operating condition for that. Yep.

John Farquhar, Summit Risk Solutions:

Exactly. Oh, agreed. Agreed. I try not to title as much

Ron Zima, Idle Free Guy:

as possible, but

John Farquhar, Summit Risk Solutions:

Yeah, it's more from a cost factor than it is pollution, to be honest with you. But that leads me. Question something and

Chris Harris, Safety Dawg:

fleet John, just a second before you, what amazed me recently, we went through this gas cost spike here in Ontario, where we got up to just over $2, a. Yep. Did. And I know Ron you're from the east coast. So this question isn't for you, but John, did you notice any cars slowing down on the 4 0 1? Oh God

John Farquhar, Summit Risk Solutions:

No. They were going just as fast, if not faster so yeah, no, there was, it was squat for trying to conserve or reduce their consumption of fuel by all means. Yeah. Did anybody.

Chris Harris, Safety Dawg:

Complain about the price of fuel? No,

John Farquhar, Summit Risk Solutions:

no, I didn't even see people going, oh, I can't drive to work. I can't afford to drive to work the price of gas doubles, but everybody's still going.

Chris Harris, Safety Dawg:

So yeah. I heard people complaining, but I didn't see there's one thing to say, my God the price of fuel's too high, but there's a different one to say do something about it. Yes, exactly. And this is where Ron's course, but I did take it. I'll shout it out because it made. The awareness made me do something about it. Sorry, go ahead. You're gonna say something about when you owned your commercial

John Farquhar, Summit Risk Solutions:

fleet. Yeah so I was wondering how is the idling aspect taken into account with commercial motor vehicles and we're talking large commercial motor vehicles, tractor trailers. When the tractor trailers, when the tractor trailer, when you take into account that they have an auxiliary power unit on the vehicle. So rather than idling the engine, we now have a diesel generator or something, or another type of accessory, which is providing heat or coolness for the cab, maybe charging of the batteries and whatnot. How is that considered in the idle free program?

Ron Zima, Idle Free Guy:

Oh, fantastic. Any idle reduction technology is fantastic. okay. And if you're talking sleeper cabs and things like that. Absolutely. And by the way, a big shout out to all the truck drivers out there. Okay. It is my hat. Oh, maybe I should leave my hat on. Yeah, my hat. Go off to you because it is such a tough job. So again, it comes back to manage. How is the food being managed and do they put the driver at the center of the operating universe of that vehicle? And here's the point I'm making of that often? They don't that what they'll do is they'll force the technology because they don't think there's any way they can get drivers to care. Emotionally care about piddling as a problem. So they try and solve it with technology. And then the driver by and large game, the system does this sound familiar operators game the system, which we spent all that money on a, on an I reduction solution, I've actually had major, I reduction technologies, partners. Tell me that client. Government fleet has gone out and spent all kinds of money on their solution. And yet they still couldn't get the driver to care enough. The switch for God's sake. Wow. Yeah. Without he said, without a program like yours, where they really understand what's at stake and what's in it for them on the home. Front that they're gonna save so much money. I You got two or three fleets in the driveway, and then when they realize they can help save six ton, six metric tons, John of carbon that's probably about where you are. That's huge. Yeah. Yeah. And Chris would've been lower. I was already kinda low cuz I was drinking the Kool-Aid all. Speak, but when people understand the air quality involved, they've got kids with asthma at home. I'll give you an example. And by the way, one of the things I'd like to say is that our biggest challenge, isn't the rank and driver rank and file driver it's management. It's management saying, yes, we need to do something. And we need to the hearts and minds of the drivers engaged us. If we don't, we're always gonna have this problem. And so when we finally get past that politic. Paula cricketing and the management of it. And we get it in front of the rank and file. They eat it up. They come people like Chris Harris here, who just everywhere he goes. Now he truck's idling. What the Hells he, yeah, what's a need for, yeah, it's not that he's going out and admonishing people it's he sees it everywhere now. And that's what happens and people we're building a movement.

Chris Harris, Safety Dawg:

How do you say it, Ron? Because it is okay to idle you, you don't say you can't idle, it's something about you don't idle for no benefit. How do you say it?

Ron Zima, Idle Free Guy:

We, we ask folks to go idle free when you're parked and it makes sense. See Yep. Yep. Great. John, where's the one I'll throw out for you on that, that great scenario that you gave and you're sitting by that's a real world, really good scenario. How would I address that? It's a hot day and you don't want that car noise and everything else. Chris and I have eliminated 90% of our previous idle time. We're just we're rolling in cash that we've saved and we're taking better care of our vehicles. Sure. I dunno, this is an EV now. Yeah, but in any event it's when people understand. Yeah. It's it's not a hard sell. This is not a hard sell for people. And if they are shown that they're not being they're not bad people, they were in fact. Of the time people are idling. Like I used to, I was green, everything, except this mulching, my grass, my kids were small. We were shutting the lights off, saving water, and I was a Canadian idler. It works. And when we get Canadians in Americans by and large to get the right. Idle management, thoughts and skills. From 20 century. Yep. This is going, we're gonna build a movement and we're gonna be able to reduce a lot of that. Cause we're gonna have 300 million plus. Internal combustion engine driven vehicles for at least the next 10, 20 years on our roads. And we need to do something about that during the transition to cleaner fuels and EVs, we gotta,

Chris Harris, Safety Dawg:

we're coming close to our time. But I gotta ask you this question. That I drive an EV and I know that EVs are gonna save the planet because we're all of a sudden we're not gonna have. Any pollution coming outta cars or trucks

Ron Zima, Idle Free Guy:

with some caveats no, I'm a big, I'm a big fan of EVs. I'm just saying that if you look at you, can't ma wave a magic wand, I

Chris Harris, Safety Dawg:

just want you to address that because all of the truck, class eight manufacturers have electronic electric trucks out now. Yeah. Tesla soon is going to have their vehicle out now. It's explained to our listeners and our viewers, how, although that's a great movement, it's not gonna save us quick.

Ron Zima, Idle Free Guy:

We're seeing that now we're seeing a little bit of a pushback formally now through the transportation publications in the us is the EV transition being forced and to a degree yeah. It's being forced politically. And just think about it as somebody who John, you bought that vehicle, maybe seven years. But you're expecting to keep it for maybe another three. Are we're keeping our vehicles for 11 and half and a half years. Okay. Yep. The vast majority of vehicles in north America are, say five and six years old or whatever they are, they're gonna be around. Yep. About it. You're not gonna be an electric vehicles. Are a huge investment. They're not cheap. So you're gonna need quite the incentive to, to flip you over. And then there's all the supply chain stuff, making those batteries. This is one of the biggest holy grails they're searching for right now is a clean, sustainable way for battery technology for the whole EV revolution. They're finding that the it's like peeling an onion, the more they peel, the more they cry, they got they got lots of things to think about, but. For the record, totally support it. We need to move in that direction. It makes sense. But we should have been doing this starting about 10, 20 years ago. Yeah. But that's how human nature works.

Chris Harris, Safety Dawg:

We are. And most class eight trucks right now for long haul trucking. As an example, you can't buy a, an electric vehicle to do the job. So anybody that buys a class eight truck today, like you said, they're expecting 10 years. Outta that vehicle or after five, they're expecting to sell it so that they can get the next vehicle. But somebody's buying that vehicle. It's still gonna be on the road. Yeah, for at least 10 years. So no matter what changes we make today, it takes years before. Any type of advancement and I don't know the stop. Maybe you do run. I think EVs right now are like 2% or something of the new cars

Ron Zima, Idle Free Guy:

being sold. Maybe 80%, maybe 3% now because of the aggressive happenings in the market. But yeah, 97% Fossil fuel driven across the us and Canada and we're all to some degree involved in an unconscious idling epidemic of 6.6 billion gallons of fuel 33 million tons of emissions.

Chris Harris, Safety Dawg:

All right. I think that's a great way to wrap up the show. Ron, your contact info is in the show notes down below, so people can reach out to you, but. What is the best way to find out more about you and your movement and the idle free stuff that's available to us today?

Ron Zima, Idle Free Guy:

They can actually visit me at go idle free.com as the other thing that, that is a good resource. If they're a business person on LinkedIn they'll find that I've got a showcase page called idle reduction, behavior modification become a member of that. I'm posting all the latest the white papers, the information, and then if they wanna preview. The program, they can actually go to Facebook because as a public service, we've got copies of lessons on there at idle free for our kids on Facebook. So you'll find you'll get a really good taste of it. Yeah. So yeah there's lots of there's lots of ways for us to. To share our wearers online, so to speak. There's a few of them. And if you wanna, and if you want to do something now to save a ton of fuel. Okay. And I was coming up to that situation with John roll the windows down, even on the hottest day. And you are gonna find an incredible cross breeze and it feels like you're sitting, it's aerodynamics. That's how Chris and I have saved so much of our, I time in hot weather. Good. Sure. I'll be the first person as soon as I start perspiring or I can see this isn't working. I'll start the vehicle up by the way. Air conditioning burns a hell of a lot more fuel. Oh yeah. I believe that. Yes. I would turn it on and get the air going and then keep those windows rolled up. Shut it off. And I'll have cool air for about another 20 minutes. Okay. That's.

Chris Harris, Safety Dawg:

Perfect, Ron. Thanks so much. All of those links that you mentioned, the Facebook, the LinkedIn link, they're all in the show notes down below. So our listeners and our viewers can click there and I would really encourage you to go to the Facebook page and just do this yourself. That's what I did. And that's what turned my behavior around several years ago. I would encourage you to. It saved me money. It's also lengthened the time I can own my vehicle. So I'm getting better return on my investment in a vehicle. That's an actually boron, but it's yeah, really? Ron Z. Who you calling Aron? I free guy. Thanks Ron. My friend. Thanks guys. Ron Zima. Thank you for joining. The ID free guy, and it is not what you think. And for all of you, thank you for joining us this week, John far wire, my co-host from summit risk solutions and myself, Chris Harris will see you next week. Thanks for tuning into the trucking risk and insurance podcast. That's all we got. Gotta go.