In cold weather and in school parking lots, we see a lot of car idling. The City of Portland urges you to reduce car idling, which has a negative impact on children’s health and air quality in the Concordia neighborhood.
All of us have idled our vehicles while waiting to pick up kids from school, waiting at the drive-up window, or waiting for a bridge. Part of the reason is that when we were just beginning to drive, the mindset was that it’s better to leave the car running rather than turn it on and off.
Well, maybe that was true then, but it’s certainly not true now. As a matter of fact, it’s actually better for your vehicle to turn it off if it’s going to be idling for more than 10 seconds.
This fact leads to the top ten reasons to turn off your vehicle when you’re not moving:
- Studies have shown a direct link between contaminants in vehicle emissions and significant respiratory health effects.
- Vehicle exhaust is the leading source of toxic air pollution in Oregon.
- Excessive idling can be hard on your engine. Because it isn’t working at peak operating temperature, fuel doesn’t undergo complete combustion, leaving spark plugs dirty, which can increase fuel consumption by 4 to 5%. Also, the engine oil becomes contaminated by idling.
- According to Ford and the Auto Alliance, vehicles produced after the mid-‘80s don’t require additional time to heat a “cold engine.” The best way to warm up your vehicle is to drive it, even in cold weather.
- Besides, idling warms only the engine, not the wheel bearings, steering, suspension, transmission, and tires. These parts warm up when the vehicle is driven.
- Frequent restarting has little impact on engine parts such as the battery and starter motor. The wear on components that restarting the engine causes adds about $10 a year to your costs. This is money that you’ll likely recover several times over in fuel savings from reduced idling.
- More than 10 seconds of idling uses more fuel than restarting the engine.
- Toxic air pollutants account for an additional 700 cases of cancer for every million residents.
- Children breathe 50% more air per pound than adults, and their asthma symptoms increase as a result of car exhaust.
- When you idle you get 0 miles per gallon.
For education resources and for any questions, contact Donna Green at the Portland Office of Transportation at 503.823.6114, firstname.lastname@example.org.