Chart courtesy of Verizon.

Chart courtesy of Verizon.

A telematics study analyzing a sampling of North Carolina's vehicle fleet showed many state vehicles aren't being regularly used and others suffer from excessive idling that reduces fuel efficiency.

Verizon Telematics presented its findings to the Joint Legislative Program Evaluation Oversight Committee on Feb. 23 as one of four vendors seeking a state contract to provide GPS-based vehicle monitoring software. The pilot project monitored the use of 76 state vehicles over a seven-month period using Verizon's Networkfleet system. North Carolina maintains a fleet of 33,000 vehicles, according to Verizon.

State agencies participating in the study included the Department of Administration, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Transportation, N.C. State University, and the University of North Carolina.

The study identified 34 vehicles that were not used at all during the seven-month period, and 28 vehicles were used one to five days. Extrapolating that across a fleet, the state could possibly reduce the fleet by 896 vehicles, according to the report.

When studying idle time, Verizon found that longer idle events increased during summer months. From July to September, idle events of 10 minutes or longer averaged more than 1,000 per month. In August, pilot vehicles idled for more than 650 hours on 10-minute idling events. That represents about 200 gallons of fuel or about 2.5 gallons per vehicle. At $2.95 per gallon, the $7.38 per vehicle per month equates to a possible savings of $56,545 per month (or $678,546 per year) by eliminating those idling events.

The report also found that the 76 vehicles frequently exceeded the posted speed limit with an average of 5,000 instances per month of speeding more than 5 mph over the limit. There were about 2,000 cases per month of speeding of at least 10 mph over the limit.

Department of Administration Secretary Kathryn Johnston said her agency will prepare its own study based on the findings of the four vendors and present a recommendation to lawmakers by the end of May, reports WRAL.

Read the full study here.