Keep Idling to a Minimum

Winter is coming, and it’s worth repeating some advice I shared last spring.

Want to save a little money and reduce unnecessary greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants?

Turn off your car’s engine when parked, and leave it off until it’s time to move.

These days, very and increasingly few engines need time to warm up. Warming engines longer than necessary wastes fuel and in most modern cars, excessive idling can actually harm the engine. Even diesel engines don’t need the warming-up they used to need. If in doubt, check your owner’s manual.

In winter, windshields may need to warm up, but scrapers can do most, if not all of the needed work on accumulated frost, snow, and ice, and the use of these implements provides a little exercise!

Cars can get cold in the winter, but for most of us, especially here in the banana belt, the cold is tolerable. Do the right thing for the planet and put on a warmer jacket, instead.

Come summer, air conditioning becomes a temptation for some folks on hot days. Use it as a last resort. The air vents in my Echo have always been enough for me, and opening the windows a crack when the car is parked makes temperatures tolerable at take-off time.

Afraid your car will stall if you turn the engine off? Maybe it’s time for a trip to the garage.

Do you idle outside a hospital entrance? A lot of the gases and particles spewed out by a running engine are colourless, odourless, and tasteless. Consider killing your engine , as there is limited air circulation at the hospital entrance and the health of many of the folks inside is fragile.

Then there are the drive-throughs at many of our fast food establishments. When the line gets long, the time-saving purpose of the drive-throughs gets defeated. Sometimes, the lineup can even impede outside traffic. Try parking the car and walking in to make your order. You may end up saving your time and that of others!



Some of you may have noticed signs like the above in the area. They are the initiative of the Yarmouth Environmental Think Tank (YETT), an informal group of environmentally-concerned citizens whose membership broadly overlaps that of TREPA. YETT and TREPA would like to thank the Town of Yarmouth, Coastal Financial Credit Union, Tricounty Regional School Board, les Ecoles CSAP, Access Nova Scotia, and Yarmouth Regional Hospital for their participation in this initiative.

Unnecessary idling wastes money and pollutes. That adversely affects public health and accelerates global warming. So please turn your car engine off and idle your car only when you have no choice. The global community will thank you for it; your wallet will love you for it!

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