One of the particulars of driving a motor vehicle especially one of the internal-combustion-engine-powered variety is that part of the overall vehicle operation involves engine idling. It’s unavoidable.
However, keeping idling to a minimum would go far and do much to lessen air and human health impacts tied to the operation of motor vehicles powered by internal combustion engines.
Monica Maye in an Apr. 19, 2013 Connecticut Post commentary titled: “Idling vehicles raise risks, get you nowhere,” in fact, sheds much light on vehicle idling.
Maye wrote: “According to Make a LEaP (Lowering Emissions and Particulates), idling makes up 0.6 percent of the United States’ CO2 [carbon dioxide] output, or 34.5 million tons per year. It also constitutes 8 percent of the oil consumed in the U.S. every day.”
And the engine-idle commentary contributor goes on from there pointing out that diesel-engine-powered buses and trucks, despite as a general rule having greater fuel-efficiencies, produce higher emissions levels compared to gasoline-fueled vehicles. Maye also opines there is a tendency in diesel truck and bus operation for increased idling time with consequent negative “local” air-quality impacts, and adds, “Diesel exhaust contains both carbon particulates and 40 chemicals that are classified as ‘hazardous air pollutants’ under the Clean Air Act.”
And that’s just the half of it. In addition to the detailed data and statistics Maye provided, offered as well were several recommendations to the motoring public, like “Rather than sitting in a parking lot with our engines running while a family member runs into a store to pick something up, we can go inside and find someplace comfortable to wait,” advice that, hopefully, will encourage a reduction in engine-idling frequency.
And in rounding out the discussion, Maye also noted, “If you are concerned about the long-term wear and tear that might result from turning your engine off and on for this reason, a 2003 study conducted by Canada’s Office of Energy Efficiency showed that ‘idling for over 10 seconds uses more fuel and produces more CO2 emissions than restarting your engine.’ In fact, the money you will save on fuel by reducing your idling time exceeds any increased maintenance costs caused by turning your car off and on more frequently.”
As if that weren’t enough and as it relates, Maye went the extra mile (pun intended) and included air pollution’s impact on health in her discussion too.