A few weeks ago I received an office supplies delivery. The delivery truck driver left his engine running while he was rummaging in the back for my stuff. I often see parents idling their car while waiting to pick their child up at school. At the railroad tracks in Warwick most – I don’t want to say all (and I am not one of them) – people idle their car while waiting for the (usually long) freight trains to pass. And I have never seen people turn their engines off while waiting at the drive-up ATM for their turn, at a red light or at a drive-through.
UPS is making an effort to reduce idling their trucks while the drivers deliver, because they know it wastes gas, which costs money (probably their first concern, before the CO2 emissions), although in our context air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions are the deeper concern. They report in a press release that ” Idling for 30 seconds uses more fuel than restarting your engine, and idling for 10 minutes a day wastes an average of 24.6 gallons of gas per year.”
Various cities and states in this country have already implemented anti-idling laws and there are penalties for idling more than 3 or 5 minutes, depending on the locality. But we know this is difficult to enforce. In Europe people are more conscientious about shutting their engine off while waiting at the railroad tracks for the train to pass.
But do we really need an ordinance telling us that spewing CO2 into the atmosphere while the car is not being used is a waste? Pollutes the air? Contributes to greenhouse gas emissions? Why not get into the habit of shutting your engine off as soon as you realize that you will be standing there for a while? Why not do your bit to conserve energy and limit greenhouse gas emissions?