Especially as the weather gets colder, many of us are in the habit of letting our cars idle or “warm-up” before driving off on a chilly winter day. However, it is time we update our habits, not only to help our wallets, but to help our health and the well-being of the planet as well! I am constantly amazed by how many cars I see around town left idling, often with no one even in the car. I hope this letter can contribute just a little bit of awareness about the impracticality of idling, and can help keep our air crisp and clean this winter and beyond!
Here is some interesting information that may help clarify some common misconceptions about idling (sourced from www.edf.org as well as the Town of Jackson Anti-Idling Ordinance Proposal):
• Today’s engines (produced after the mid-1980s), only require a maximum of 30 seconds of run time before they are ready to safely be driven, even in sub-zero temperatures. A car’s engine warms up twice as fast by driving it. Scraping your windshield is far more efficient than letting the defroster of an idling car do the work.
• Idling costs! An idling car burns 1/5 to 7/10 of a gallon of fuel per hour, with diesel trucks burning a gallon or more! On average, idling your vehicle for 10 minutes uses as much fuel as it would have taken to drive 5 miles. Not only that, but for every gallon of gas burned 25 pounds of carbon dioxide are emitted.
• It is a myth that turning off and restarting a car burns more fuel than leaving it running. In fact, idling your car for more than 10 seconds will burn more fuel than if you just turn it off and back on again!
• Idling creates just as much exhaust as driving, and often cars are left idling in public parking areas where lots of people are out and about. This exposes people to harmful exhaust fumes that over time can lead to asthma, heart disease, bronchitis, and cancer.
Someday I’d love to help get an anti-idling ordinance in place in Driggs. In the meantime, I hope you will join me in contributing to a healthier community by stopping the idling habit! Thank you so much!