The compelling benefits of simply turning off the key when parked:
WITH GASOLINE & DIESEL NEAR THEIR HIGHEST LEVELS, SAVING MONEY IS IMPERATIVE
FUEL WASTE: Whether a light-duty car, SUV or pickup, or commercial truck, needless idling burns our hard earned dollars or company profits through the tailpipe. An idling vehicle gets 0 miles per gallon. Also note that as fossil fuels are being depleted in the face of ever increasing world demand, exploration costs increase, leading to inevitably increasing fuel prices.
ENGINE WEAR: In light-duty vehicles, excessive idling causes needless engine wear that can lead to increased engine maintenance and shortened engine life. Read vehicle owner's manual samples to learn more. In medium- and heavy-duty vehicles, excessive idling causes increased engine maintenance and shortens engine life. Manufacturers of these engines, including Kenworth Truck Co., Caterpiller, Inc., IC Corporation and Cummins Inc., advise operators to limit idling to a maximum of 3-5 minutes.
IMPROVE AIR QUALITY / IMPROVE OUR HEALTH - exhaust emissions cause respiratory illness
HEALTH IMPACT: LIGHT-DUTY GASOLINE & DIESEL: While modern light-duty vehicles are designed with advanced emission control technologies that have reduced harmful exhaust emission chemicals such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide and benzene, real life factors can inevitably cause increased emissions at idle: vehicle age, how the vehicle is maintained, wear of emission control components and their resulting diminished function, the warmed up state of a vehicle, and weather extremes - both cold and hot. Gasoline Engine Emissions and Health fact sheet from the American Lung Association in Vermont.
HEALTH IMPACT: MEDIUM- & HEAVY-DUTY DIESEL: Many commercial vehicles and school buses are equipped with diesel engines. They are durable, economical sources of power. But diesels, especially those manufactured prior to 2007, contain toxic exhaust components such as particulate matter, nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds that cause significantly higher levels of harmful emissions when idling. Clean Air Task Force studies: Problems of Diesel and Vermont Diesel Soot Health Impacts.
OVERALL HEALTH IMPACT; Prolonged exposure of these emissions affects our respiratory systems, including our lungs and heart. Children, the elderly, and individuals with asthma are especially vulnerable. Vermont does not escape these exposures. Indeed, Vermont has the highest rate of adult asthma in the nation.
HOW VEHICLE EMISSIONS AFFECT US - ESPECIALLY CHILDREN
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SLOW THE ADVANCE OF CLIMATE CHANGE - exhaust emissions contain carbon dioxide (CO2)
Greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles, including carbon dioxide (CO2), contribute to climate change. The world's scientists tell us that 350 parts per million CO2 in the atmosphere is the safe limit for humanity. But in May 2013 we have crossed the threshold of 400 ppm.
Overwhelming scientific evidence, including from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) link climate change to the earth's highest ever average annual temperatures, melting polar ice caps, rising sea levels, increasingly severe weather events, and to the threat of many plant and animal species. These changes are being felt in Vermont. Climate change is warming the state and is increasing extreme weather events, such as Tropical Storm Irene in 2011. This will impact Vermont's ski, maple sugaring, tourist industries, its people, and more.
Even the Pentagon, which already ranks climate change as a national security threat, was warned in an expert report prepared for the intelligence community by the by the National Academy of Sciences to stand guard against "climate surprises" which could throw off its efforts to secure America's future.
- In 2012 there were more than 572,000 Vermont vehicle registrations. If half of these vehicles reduced their idling by five minutes/day, the total CO2 emissions reduction could exceed 84,450,000 pounds/year.
CONSERVE ENERGY - unnecessary idling contributes to fossil fuel use
Many of us are aware of conserving and saving energy. We're all in the habit of turning off lights when we leave a room, and we all know about recycling beverage containers. Turning off the key when our vehicles are not in traffic is a great energy conserving habit to get into.
In 2012 there were more than 572,000 Vermont vehicle registrations. If just half of these vehicles reduced their idling by five minutes/day, the total fuel avoidance could exceed 4,353,000 gallons/year. [Based on light-duty vehicle average fuel use of 0.5 gallons/hr. when idling]
Most gasoline is derived from crude oil, a non-renewable resource. As crude oil reserves are harder to find, oil companies, particularly in North America, are increasingly resorting to processing dirty tar sands oil using even more environmentally harmful extraction processes. Inevitably this results in higher oil prices. Why waste this valuable resource? Our dependence on foreign oil also poses a threat to our economic and strategic security. Idling reduction is part of the solution in making Vermont and America energy independent.
OBEY THE LAW - Vermont has laws that restrict idling
• Vermont's school bus idling rule restricts the idling of school buses on school grounds. There is also an option in the law for school boards in each district to adopt idling policies for motor vehicles other than school buses (employees, students, parents, delivery, etc.) when present on school grounds.
• Vermont's unattended motor vehicle law, prohibits allowing a vehicle to run while unattended in public.
• The city of Burlington has an idling restriction ordinance.
• The State of Vermont will finally have a law to prohibit the unnecessary idling of motor vehicles (five minutes in any 60 minute period, with exceptions), to take effect May 1, 2014.
For more details on idling laws, visit the Idling Laws page.