Since 2008, the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office lost more than $1.25M in fuel costs from idling patrol vehicles. A study conducted in 2013 by the Department of General Services found idling patrol cars cost $207,000 in extra fuel per year.
The vehicles in the county’s police fleet are left running because of mobile audio video systems and computer systems that only operate while the vehicle is on.
The Sheriff’s Office has been testing a battery monitoring system with features like auto-start and “secure idle” to deter theft. The system will, in theory, reduce idle times and will cost about $36,000 to implement. Just last year, the county established strong anti-idling practices.