It has been estimated that a commercial vehicle spends an average of 1-gallon extra fuel for every hour the engine is left idling. When the engine is running idle, not only it consumes excessive amounts of fuel, it also emits a range of gases into the atmosphere polluting the air. One of which is Carbon Dioxide, a greenhouse gas. According to scientists, 70% of the total greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is Carbon Dioxide and it’s one of the main reasons for Global Warming.
During the 80s, car manufacturers recommended that before driving away, one should warm up the engine for a few minutes to improve engine performance. Following this remark, all drivers, especially truck drivers started idling for long periods of time to improve the efficiency of their engine.
Another reason for drivers to idle the car while taking short breaks is that they believe the car uses more gas when they restart the engine. On the contrary, even idling for 10 seconds wastes more gas than restarting the engine, modern vehicles use practically no extra fuel when they are restarted.
In the UK, excessive idling is an offence since 2002 according to the Road Traffic Regulations. The law clearly states that it’s forbidden to leave your engine running for extended periods of time while parked. Drivers idling for long periods will be issued with a penalty notice of £20. The legislation covers all vehicles on public roads including private cars, taxis and busses. Westminster city council confirmed that they will begin fining drivers on the spot if they do not turn their engine off after being warned by a traffic warden. To further battle the issue, over one hundred new traffic wardens will be patrolling the London boroughs to target drivers idling.
A new approach to eliminating the effects of air pollution on children is assigning “no idling” zones outside schools, care homes and hospitals. The experts remark that children and elderly people are most at risk from high levels of air pollution. Children under the age of 14 and elderly over the age of 65 are more vulnerable to the impacts of air pollution. England health officials suggest that parents who leave their vehicles idle at the school gates should be punished and fined.
GPS tracking technologies offer a great solution in the battle with excessive idling and fuel usage: Fuel Management System. With the help of a GPS tracking software, individuals have access to fuel consumption and mileage reports. These detailed reports provide information on when, where and how a vehicle has been used as well as insight on the overall behaviour of the driver. This data can be used to monitor and prevent unwanted driver activities and in return save fuel as well as reduce gas emissions significantly. Fleet businesses and companies, no matter the size, benefit from GPS tracking solutions financially and help protect the environment at the same time.
Tips on avoiding unnecessary idling
- Turn off your engine if you will be spending time parked for more than 20 seconds. This will actually save you gas and contrary to popular belief, idling for longer than 20 seconds is actually proven to be wasting more gas.
- Warming up your engine by driving your car is better than idling for a few minutes when you start the engine. The best way to do it is easing into the drive and avoiding engine revving.
- Warm up the interior of the vehicle by driving as well. Sitting in an idle car means breathing in the exhaust gas that leaks into the cabin. Damage to your health will be far greater than any warmth you may get while idling. If you’ve parked in front of a store and waiting, getting out of the car and going inside the store is actually healthier than sitting in the car.
- Avoid drive-through fast food restaurants, park and order inside. If you have to use a drive-through restaurant, turn of the engine and wait for your order.
- You can damage your car more than you can imagine by idling excessively. Prolonged periods of idling causes chemical build up inside the engine. Many crucial engine parts can be damaged and the added repair costs are far more than the cost of wasted fuel.
According to statistics, UK’s high level of air pollution is believed to cause 40.000 premature deaths every year. The current state of pollution levels in major cities is reaching critical levels. The easiest thing one can do to fight the air pollution is to stop unnecessary idling. Not only it lowers the level of harmful CO2 produced by your car, but it also helps you cut down on your fuel bills.