What is Idling?
Idling is when a vehicle’s engine is running with no load, or at a low load, for an extended period of time. An idling car can waste a significant amount of fuel and produce a large amount of emissions.
Impact of Idling
Idling can increase fuel consumption by up to 10%, costing you money and contributing to air pollution. According to the Canadian Standard Association, idling an engine for 30 seconds burns more fuel than restarting it.
Reasons People Idle Their Cars
- Keep a car warm in winter
- Keep air conditioning running while parked
- Accessories such as power windows or electric seats
- Waiting that is longer than necessary
Eco-Friendly Alternatives to Idling
- Turn your car off when it’s not in use. Reducing your idle time to less than 10 seconds whenever possible is the best option for the environment.
- Park in the sun. Parking your car in the sun will heat it up faster and help reduce idling.
- Pre-heat your car. Most cars have a pre-heat setting that can be activated either remotely or once inside the car.
- Turn off the accessories. If you can, turn off the accessories in your car such as the radio and interior lights, as this will help reduce the amount of time required for the engine to run.
Idling is an issue that we must all be aware of, and an issue that can also be easily avoided. Whenever possible, turn off your engine and choose one of the eco-friendly alternatives.
What are the consequences of idling in a car?
Idling in a car can result in many negative consequences. Emission from idling vehicles can contribute to local and global air pollution, which can increase health risks to both humans and animals. Idling cars also waste fuel, resulting in higher costs for drivers. In some states, idling a vehicle for more than a few minutes is illegal, and can result in fines.
What are the health and environmental effects of idling a car?
Idling a car for more than 10 seconds uses more fuel and produces more emissions than turning the engine off and restarting it. Idling can create health risks due to the release of air pollutants and toxic emissions, including the air pollutants carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides, which can aggravate asthma and other respiratory conditions in susceptible individuals. On an environmental level, idling cars contribute to global warming by releasing carbon dioxide and other atmospheric emissions, which can harm the Earth’s climate and ecosystems. In addition, idling cars create noise pollution, which can be bothersome and disrupt activities and habitats in surrounding areas.