Photo courtesy of Derive Efficiency.

Photo courtesy of Derive Efficiency.

The City of Lakeland, Fla., has cut fuel costs from idling by an average of 26% on its 80 police vehicles by using engine calibration software. The vehicles were idling approximately six to eight hours per day and since they are often used as a mobile workspaces and command centers, turning off the ignition is often not feasible.

Derive Efficiency specializes in tuning the software of an engine. With a quick software update, Derive was able to reduce idle levels, which in turn generated immediate fuel savings for the city.

“The low cost and the quick application is a big payoff. Literally minutes per vehicle to install, all without having to invade or leave anything behind in the vehicle,” said Gary McLean, fleet manager at City of Lakeland. “Some of the other technologies out there are extremely intrusive and they are costly. We chose to do things that have an immediate impact at a low cost and Derive has provided just that.”

The city tested the software on police and administrative vehicles as well as pick-up trucks for six months.

Derive Efficiency can reduce idle fuel consumption by up to 30% for less than $400. The system does not need hardware installation, which the company says makes it less costly than its competitors’ products.

According to Derive, the average police cruiser consumes roughly 0.4 to 0.6 gallons of fuel per hour in idle, and the average police SUV can consume almost double this amount. The calibration software allows drivers to keep their vehicles running, but at a lower RPM.

The City of Lakeland has a diverse fleet of vehicles that include police, fire, utility, construction, and refuse. Derive customized the engine software for 158 of these vehicles: 80 law enforcement vehicles and 78 more from the city’s maintenance division.