V.11 n.39.  On Oct 7, 2016, Barbara Hirsch wrote:

Right off, I’ll say that I experience people leaving their cars or trucks idling for many minutes, with disturbing frequency –  a real pet peeve of mine.  The other day I suggested in a friendly manner that gas was being wasted, but the woman simply smiled and said she was waiting for someone.  I suppose, like most things it comes down to economics. If gas were $10/gallon it might occur to people that money was being wasted.  Forget climate change, pollution, the fossil fuel waste of it, many would simply be motivated by the money going out the tailpipe.

Most states have legislation on the books regulating maximum allowable idle times. With a quick search, it looks like they range from New York City and New Jersey’s – vehicles are allowed three minutes of idling,(with exceptions), Massachusetts and Maine allow 5 minutes with exceptions, to diesel vehicles only – maximum allowed 30 minutes (California!). Of course police have better things to do than to give people tickets for leaving their cars running, and few folks know about any such laws. But for health and emissions reasons, these practices will have to change.

Here’s the eco-scoop on idling. (Thanks EDF)

On ONE DAY in New York City, gas wasted by idling vehicles would fuel 40,000 cars driving from midtown to JFK airport.

Curbside idling in NYC costs drivers $28 million per year, and produces hundreds of tons of smog forming pollutants, soot and carbon monoxide.

It’s been said that idling for 30 seconds uses more gas than stopping and restarting your car, but the Center for Transportation Research at Argonne National Lab’s studies show that idling for more than 10 seconds uses more fuel than stopping and restarting! And that 6 billions gallons of fuel are wasted each year in the U.S. 

Wow, all that goes into getting that gas from drilled wells into the tank, and then the vehicles and drivers sit, blowing it out.

Barbara Hirsch, eco-nut

Santa Barbara, California


“Unless someone like you cares a whole lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”    

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