Idling vehicles waste gas and befoul the atmosphere

You’ve seen it yourself - if indeed you’re not guilty - someone idling their vehicle for no apparently good reason. Nice weather, waiting for junior at the middle school and listening to the radio with the motor running. Then there’s the lines of people at the Taco Bell drive-up, six or seven deep, who will sit in their car for up to 20 minutes just to avoid parking and walking 20 feet. No wonder America has a weight problem!
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According to a report on The Morning Call website by Jim Gavin, the average driver idles their car at least five minutes per day. Multiply that by the number of drivers in America and we’re talking THREE MILLION GALLONS of gas per day! Take that times 365 days per year and we are nearing the end to dependence on foreign oil.

We haven’t even mentioned how much particulate matter and greenhouse gasses that generates, but it must be staggering and so unnecessary.

Places where it really matters, like in businesses with huge fleets of delivery trucks they take it seriously. UPS has more vehicles on American roads than anyone else and if you pay attention, as soon as they stop the engine is off – no matter how brief the stop.

The company is so energy conscious they have nearly 1,000 CNG vehicles in their extensive fleet and a covey of electric vehicles cruising the Big Apple.

Have you noticed the big 18-wheelers idling? Those with refrigeration trailers need to do so to keep the coolers on, but the rest really need not. Gavin’s article quotes the Argonne National Laboratory as stating, “A single truck idling 1,890 hours per year emits 20 tons of carbon dioxide, 420 pounds of carbon monoxide and 250 pounds of nitrous oxides.

Some states have set time limits for idling by commercial haulers. California limited idling time for semi-trailer trucks to five minutes.

Reportedly, a company called IdleAire has been moving into truck stops and finding drivers who want to save fuel as well as wear and tear on the engine. A drop-down overhead duct-like apparatus allows operators to turn off their engines and draw heat, air condition, television, Internet and anything else on the console display via an AC power source. This novel approach results in more alert drivers, safer roads and greatly lessened emissions.

Furthermore, the big rigs have doubled their fuel efficiency from a dismal 4-mpg to nearly 8-mpg over the last 10 years, according to Matt Hanlon, a truck-driving instructor at Lehigh Career & Technical Institute. The improvement is due to reduced air drag, improved emissions and more efficient combustion as well as gearing — that is the ability to shift at lower rpms, effectively lessening the impact on the motor.

So save the drive-through for the times when you really need it – is it that much of an effort to get out and go into the restaurant or liquor store? Just try to remember if you aren’t moving forward for a length of time longer than a stop light, your car really doesn’t need to be running.

Also, unless you are driving an older car built 15 to 20 years ago, it doesn’t need long to warm up. Modern cars are good to go within two minutes of start-up. So use the remote start when you’re almost out the door and not before.

Who knows? Maybe collectively you’ll kick-start the economy and clear the air – or maybe just save enough money for that special something you’ve been putting off.

Will it hurt to try?


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