Automotive

Food delivery driver: Shut the car off or leave it running each time?

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  • Nov 3rd, 2021 10:49 am
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CanadianLurker wrote: What you're saying is generally correct, I'm not sure that the numbers are. I've always seen most analysis just on fuel savings alone and it always comes out that there are 10-15% fuel savings on vehicles equipped with automatic start/stop systems. From there it stands to reason that reduced fuel consumption comes with the added benefit of lower emissions.

But your comments got me thinking and looking around a bit and I found this study:

This study looked at the problem and concluded otherwise. It was initiated to consider the cost/benefit of idling in a drive-thru lane vs shutting off and returning for a re-start shortly afterwards. Here are some points on re-starts with a caveat

• Emissions from restarting were larger, but at least an order of magnitude lower than those from starting a cold engine.
• The catalyst cooled down slowly, so that restarts after times equivalent to a short transaction at a bank or restaurant are unlikely to allow the temperature to drop below light-off and incur large cold-start emissions.

Research Limitations
Data presented here are based on one vehicle at one temperature, with a small number of runs. Therefore, although several conclusions are suggested by this work, generalizations are unwarranted without additional work to confirm the extent to which the results apply

Conclusions
• Idling for more than 10 seconds uses more fuel (Figure 3) and emits more CO2 than engine restarting.
• Idling fuel usage varies from 0.2 to 0.5 gal/h for passenger vehicles across a range of sizes, and increased with idling speed.
• The vehicle warms up faster when driving than it does when idling.
• NOx and THC emissions from restarting are larger, but at least an order of magnitude lower than those from starting a cold engine (Table 2).
• For short stops, it makes sense to turn the vehicle off in order to minimize fuel use and CO2 emissions. At least for the conditions evaluated in this work, the penalty in terms of criteria pollutant emissions is very small compared to 1cold-start emissions.

https://afdc.energy.gov/files/u/publica ... reener.pdf
Yea, for sure gas and CO2 emissions are higher when idling, but every start creates more emissions of other molecules, like unburnt fuel, CO, NOx, etc. Of course those are minimal if a short stop and CAT stays hot, but go up as it cools down. Newer cars have the CAT even closer to the engine block, so they heat up faster and cool down slower.
CanadianLurker wrote: Yes, doing 15 minutes on highway before/after shift will help to replenish the battery but since you already have the equipment it won't hurt to keep an eye on battery health and use the maintainer as needed.

And the worry about the extra starter use is understandable, but isn't something I'd worry about on a modern vehicle like yours. Things are better designed & built compared to the 80's/90's when having starter issues was a more common problem. There are plenty of cabbies out there without automatic stop/start systems who are manually turning off to avoid idling dozens of times per shift x 2 or 3 shifts per day on the vehicle. And not just to reduce costs and save gas but they're operating in areas where it is required under by-laws to avoid idling.
Yea, I can't remember the last time I've heard of car post 2000 with a failed starter, let alone a post 2010 car. It used to be a problem that you'd be almost guaranteed to have the start fail under 200k KM. My 20 year old BMW with 240k KM is still on original starter.
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Rob_EV wrote: You don't actually get that money back, it's a tax deduction. As a Doordash/Skip/Uber driver, you can't do your taxes like that without risking getting audited. Have to keep a mileage log, calculate expenses and then determine percentage business use.
Right, that's true, I remember now. I will still be able to get something back at least.
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TehRFDAnomaly wrote: OP

If you are going to be just idling at 3-mins average, leave the car running. It will cost more gas/stress to your vehicle system if you turn off the car every stop.

Leave the keys on the ignition, hook your fob on your belt so you can lock/unlock as you need.
True. I'm more worried about the wear and tear on the cars electrical system come winter. Especially if I am constantly turning on and off HID and LED headlights. Probably best to just leave the lights on. I do really like your idea of having the key fob on my belt loop. Much easier to access than having to dig in my pocket each time.
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DiamondDallasPage wrote: True. I'm more worried about the wear and tear on the cars electrical system come winter. Especially if I am constantly turning on and off HID and LED headlights. Probably best to just leave the lights on. I do really like your idea of having the key fob on my belt loop. Much easier to access than having to dig in my pocket each time.
LED lights won't care in the slightest, HID is another matter.
Keep an extra key on you, if the battery on the fob goes you are screwed. Don't lose the key though, keep it in your wallet in your pocket.
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Likely more of a load engaging a load like the starter then that of HID's though.
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I would get an electric bike for the shorter ones. 10km will take too long by e-bike.
But since 50% of your deliveries are 2km or less, thats no problem for an e-bike. Even in the winter you’ll be fine… they have e-bikes with the really wide dirt motorbike sized tires. That will handle snow and ice no problem.
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MP3_SKY wrote: In GTA, there are tons of people driving Luxury car that requires premium octane and other Sports cars to do ubereat or other delivery chain.
Obviously the driver aren't hungry about money, but get a chance to go out and have a chance to drive their car with a "purpose". Face With Stuck-out Tongue And Tightly-closed Eyes

Therefore, not everyone doing delivers having to be cost-effective in gas.

However, probably anything that's not electric are not road worthy in your book. :facepalm:
I had a S500 deliver Uber once... and the food was cold
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CanadianLurker wrote: Yes, doing 15 minutes on highway before/after shift will help to replenish the battery but since you already have the equipment it won't hurt to keep an eye on battery health and use the maintainer as needed.

And the worry about the extra starter use is understandable, but isn't something I'd worry about on a modern vehicle like yours. Things are better designed & built compared to the 80's/90's when having starter issues was a more common problem. There are plenty of cabbies out there without automatic stop/start systems who are manually turning off to avoid idling dozens of times per shift x 2 or 3 shifts per day on the vehicle. And not just to reduce costs and save gas but they're operating in areas where it is required under by-laws to avoid idling.
But I would imagine all the start and stops will result in me going through batteries quicker. I would be shocked if my current battery lasted me for the next 1-2 years, however long I do this job for.
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MP3_SKY wrote: On my last car, I had a Compustar 2 way remote starter with turbo timer.

The ideal of Turbo timer was to let the car/turbo cool down for a minute or 2 before the engine shut off (you can program how many minutes you want), the car can be locked while the engine is still running.

What I also do is if I just leave the car for less than 2 minutes, like pick up mails or foods or drop off something real quick, I let the car run in turbo timer, leave the car with the key fob on me, lock the door.
Aslong you come back before that 1 minute (or whatever time you programed), put the key back in, it will disable that turbo timer and you can continue driving to your next destination.

It is good so you don't have to shut down the engine every time and you can leave the engine runs and able to lock the door. If you don't come back to the car within 1-2 minutes, the engine just shut off.

i know a 2010 Accord is not turbo charged, but I assume Compustar can get this programmed on any car.
I see what you mean. That is a neat feature to have but don't see it too beneficial for me because I don't have turbo.

Last year in 2020 I did a lot of Instacart deliveries, worked that job 7 days a week throughout the year on and off. I let the car run every time while dropping off groceries at doorsteps unless I had to go in a suite or had the car out of sight and had to walk a bit. Was risky too since I never bothered locking the car while it was running and I was doing drop offs. But that was much different since even with larger order drop offs, I could get them done in less than 90 seconds, most within 45 seconds since it was all contactless deliveries. Didn't have to wait for people to come to the door (which god, some of these people take forever). Really wish my work had tap on my mobile machine, it would make everything so much quicker.
Last edited by DiamondDallasPage on Aug 10th, 2021 9:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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DiamondDallasPage wrote: But I would imagine all the start and stops will result in me going through batteries quicker. I would be shocked if my current battery lasted me for the next 1-2 years, however long I do this job for.
Your battery will be fine if you keep it topped up on the weekends. Life is only reduced by letting it run low.
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engineered wrote: Yea, for sure gas and CO2 emissions are higher when idling, but every start creates more emissions of other molecules, like unburnt fuel, CO, NOx, etc. Of course those are minimal if a short stop and CAT stays hot, but go up as it cools down. Newer cars have the CAT even closer to the engine block, so they heat up faster and cool down slower.


Yea, I can't remember the last time I've heard of car post 2000 with a failed starter, let alone a post 2010 car. It used to be a problem that you'd be almost guaranteed to have the start fail under 200k KM. My 20 year old BMW with 240k KM is still on original starter.
Okay so I shouldn't be too concerned about extra wear on my starter especially a Japanese one. But if all these starts and stops are going to result in me going through another alternator and battery replacement sooner than I may just go through the extra step of letting it run and locking it with the fob hanging off my belt loop. A cost of a new battery from Costco and a quality rebuilt alternator would be about $400 plus tax. I figured if I idle for all the trips that aren't condo suites where I have to park and go inside, then over 1-2 years, I would probably spend about that ($400) in extra gas wasted idling. But I save the hassle of replacing and the wear on the battery, starter and alternator. Maybe worse comes to worse, I just have to get a couple more oil changes over the next year due to the extra idling.
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Quentin5 wrote: LED lights won't care in the slightest, HID is another matter.
Keep an extra key on you, if the battery on the fob goes you are screwed. Don't lose the key though, keep it in your wallet in your pocket.
I will probably keep the fob and extra key on my belt loop as already suggested in here. I really like the idea.

I don't like the idea of constantly shutting off and on my HIDs come winter as it will be dark out for 95% of the hours I work. So that is why I am leaning towards letting the car run in the winter months and locking it, just so I don't have to go through the hassle and extra wear and tear switching lights on and off constantly. It can be very tedious.
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engineered wrote: Did you know engine start emits the most emissions by far? Now, once the car is up to temp it won't be as bad, but they've done studies that show one hot start up is worth like 1-2min of engine idling, one cold startup is worth like 20min of idling.
They're even looking at electrically heating catalytic converters on cars with auto start/stop due to high emissions when restarting.

So OP, I would recommend leaving running if you're staying close to the car and will be less than a minute (like at a house) and stopping it when delivering to an apartment or something.
Do you have a credible and recent source for that statement? According to US Dept of Energy that's inaccurate. They did a study in 2017, its conclusions:

Idling for more than 10 seconds uses more fuel (Figure 3) and
emits more CO2
than engine restarting.

• Idling fuel usage varies from 0.2 to 0.5 gal/h for passenger
vehicles across a range of sizes, and increased with
idling speed.
• The vehicle warms up faster when driving than it does
when idling.
• NOx
and THC emissions from restarting are larger, but at least
an order of magnitude lower than those from starting a cold
engine (Table 2).
For short stops, it makes sense to turn the vehicle off in
order to minimize fuel use and CO2
emissions.
At least for the
conditions evaluated in this work, the penalty in terms of
criteria pollutant emissions is very small compared to
cold-start emissions.

I can't imagine many deliveries taking less than a minute. What may be anticipated as a short drop can unexpectedly turn into a long one if you run into any unanticipated issues.

Not to mention most cities have anti-idling bylaws...there's a reason for that.

At any rate I am glad OP decided NOT to idle....thank you OP! Many of us appreciate it.
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I leave it on...

Turning on/off constantly is going to kill your starter
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DiamondDallasPage wrote: Okay so I shouldn't be too concerned about extra wear on my starter especially a Japanese one. But if all these starts and stops are going to result in me going through another alternator and battery replacement sooner than I may just go through the extra step of letting it run and locking it with the fob hanging off my belt loop. A cost of a new battery from Costco and a quality rebuilt alternator would be about $400 plus tax. I figured if I idle for all the trips that aren't condo suites where I have to park and go inside, then over 1-2 years, I would probably spend about that ($400) in extra gas wasted idling. But I save the hassle of replacing and the wear on the battery, starter and alternator. Maybe worse comes to worse, I just have to get a couple more oil changes over the next year due to the extra idling.
You're going down a rabbit hole over-thinking this. What's next? Concern for extra wear & tear from increased shifts in/out of Park? Door handle wearing out from additional open/close cycles? Headlights or other bulbs wearing more from increased on/off cycles? The car is built to be used and however you use it wear and tear occurs. Plenty of vehicles like yours are being used for deliveries, taxis, etc. Your starter, alternator, and battery will be fine. The biggest worry of the three 3 is the battery, but with your to/from highway drive it shouldn't be a problem as that will help greatly to maintain a decent state of charge (and just to make sure you can throw it on the tender weekly).
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george__ wrote: I leave it on...

Turning on/off constantly is going to kill your starter
LOL. Most modern cars have "start-stop" function nowadays.
I never heard of catastrophic starter failures in these cars.
Apparently, it "saves gas and environment"
.
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Rob_EV wrote: Those must be some HUGE meals!!! 🤣🤣🤣

Obviously using an F350 as a food delivery vehicle tells you A LOT about the driver and their math skills.
LOL you just might not understand small town "economics" when it comes to large vehicles. Imagine a kid driving Daddy's farm truck for a part time job to teach the kid responsibility and give them some egg money. Seen many a "poor" farmer pay out 10 to 12 grand a year in vehicle costs just so their kids would grow up right, by being able to stay for sports and have a job after school. LOL.
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I had some azn guy deliver my Mcd in a modelX

He must bored as hell or something
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Want to re-visit this topic because I had this exact discussion with someone last week. For nights when it's really busy or I'm working alone, we will use what we call "on-call drivers" during the rush especially if I'm on a longer trip and can't make it back to the diner quick enough. Basically disposable drivers who will come work for like 30 mins here and there, spot duty. I can have some trips that can be 35min round trips.

Anyways, there are 3 on-call drivers that will occasionally work for us and they all leave their cars running the entire time. They even leave their cars running while they're inside the diner waiting for thier next delivery, packing the food, even using the can, which is crazy because I noticed a couple times they were inside waiting 45mins waiting for thier next delivery...all while leaving their car running in the back alleyway and car unlocked. One drives an Audi SUV, another a Range Rover and the other a Toyota Seqouia. They said they do this because it saves their starters. I guess the one in the Ranger Rover went through a couple of starters already with all the start stops so now she just leaves it running all the time from the start of her on-call shift to when she cashes out and is heading home.

I'm not going to be doing what they're doing but I just hope I'm not killing my starter with 125-150 warm starts each week. Come winter, taking that the tips will be quite a bit higher, I will be leaving the car running for the really short trips that are literally behind the estabilishment. Some of these customers just don't tip well enough to warrant me starting my car twice for them let alone doing it in the winter.

Surprisingly even with increased gas prices, I am still able to do an average nights delivery on $8-9 in gas, which is really impressive. On super busy nights, I use up to $14 in gas. But again, that's with my adjusted driving style just for deliveries. Accelerate like a grandma, no hard braking, let the car roll to red lights whenever possible and no one is right behind me.
Last edited by DiamondDallasPage on Oct 30th, 2021 1:01 pm, edited 7 times in total.
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Yea, a bigger concern than starter issues is theft. A friend of mine just had their work van and tools stolen, because he went inside for 2 min to sign in with a customer. Now it's looking like insurance won't cover him since he left the car running with the keys in it. It's pretty stupid to risk theft over worry of a starter motor.

And what's up with people with luxury cars doing gig work? Talk about budget ballin. If they're looking to make money they'd be better off selling the Range Rover and buying a Corolla. I can't imagine they're making money, starter motors or not.
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