20 Things you should know about idling

  1. Idling gets you nowhere – and it can be costly. Excessive idling wastes over $100 a year per vehicle, and generates needless greenhouse gas emissions.
  2. Idling produces more emissions per minute than driving.
  3. Engine exhaust (diesel and gas) contains more than 40 hazardous air pollutants.
  4. Traffic areas around schools – where vehicles are often left idling – show significantly higher pollution levels outside (and inside) their buildings.
  5. Contaminants in vehicle emissions have been directly related to significant respiratory health effects. A recent report by Health Canada states 5,900 Canadians die every year from air pollution.
  6. Children are more sensitive to air pollution than adults. In part because they are exposed to more emissions with every breath – children inhale more air per pound of body weight than grown-ups.
  7. Ten seconds of idling uses more fuel than turning off the engine and restarting it. If you’re stopping for more than 10 seconds – except in traffic – turn off your engine.
  8. If every driver of a light-duty vehicle in Canada stopped idling for just five minutes, we would save 1.8 million litres of fuel. We would also prevent more than 4,500 tonnes of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere.
  9. Idle-Free Zones are an effective way to increase awareness about idling and to reduce harmful vehicle emissions.
  10. Once a vehicle is running, the best way to warm it up is to drive it. With computer-controlled, fuel-injected engines, you need no more than 30 seconds of idling on winter days before driving away. The tires, transmission, wheel bearings and other moving parts also need to be warm for the vehicle to perform well. Most of these parts don’t begin to warm up until you drive the vehicle.
  11. Natural Resource Canada estimates Canadian motorists idle 5 – 10 minutes per day, depending on the season.
  12. Driving a vehicle cuts warm-up time in half. It reduces fuel consumption too.
  13. Every 10 minutes of idling costs you at least one-tenth of a litre in wasted fuel – and up to two-fifths of a litre if your vehicle has an eight-cylinder engine. Every litre of gasoline burned produces 2.4 kg of carbon dioxide.
  14. Excessive idling can be hard on your engine. Because the engine isn’t working at peak operating temperature, fuel doesn’t undergo complete combustion. This leaves fuel residues that contaminate engine oil and make spark plugs dirty.
  15. Restarting a car many times has little impact on engine components such as the battery and the starter motor. The wear on parts that restarting the engine causes adds about $10 a year to the cost of driving – money that you’ll likely recover several times over in fuel savings.
  16. If your vehicle has a diesel engine, idling actually lowers the coolant temperature faster than shutting off the engine. In other words, switching off the engine keeps the engine warm longer.
  17. A poorly tuned engine uses up to 15 percent more energy when idling than a well-tuned vehicle.
  18. Using a block heater is a more efficient and effective way to warm the engine than idling. A block heater warms the engine block and lubricants, which makes the engine start more easily and reach its peak operating temperature faster. You don’t need to leave a block heater plugged in overnight to warm the engine – two hours is more than enough.
  19. Idling your vehicle with the air conditioner on can increase emissions by 13 percent.
  20. Many schools have already reduced harmful vehicle emissions around schools, through programs such as “Turn Your Key – This School is Idle-Free” developed by Climate Change Connection and Resource Conservations Manitoba.

Tailpipe Emissions | These are the chemicals produced by a vehicle as it runs

Tailpipe emissions

78666166DPM004_EPA.JPG

These are the chemicals produced by a vehicle as it runs (1):

  • Carbon dioxide (CO2)
  • Nitrogen oxides (NOx)
  • Hydrocarbons (HC)
  • Sulphur dioxide (SO2)
  • Particulate matter (PM10)
  • Ozone (O3)

Carbon dioxide (CO2)

Sources:

The combustion of fossil fuels (oil, gasoline, coal, etc.); deforestation.

Every litre of gasoline that is burned produces about 2.3 kg of CO2.(2)

Impacts: Responsible for over 60% of the enhanced greenhouse effect, causing climate change.

Nitrogen oxides (NOx)

Sources: Residential and agricultural fertilizers; high temperature combustion of fossil fuels; incinerators.
Impacts: NOx is 200-300 times more effective than CO2 in greenhouse warming, a major compenent of smog, suppresses vegetation growth.

Hydrocarbons (HC)

Sources: Incomplete combustion of fossil fuel.
Impacts: Reacts with NOx and sunlight to form photochemical pollution (smog), mainly ground-level ozone.

Sulfur dioxide (SO2)

Sources: Combustion of fossil fuels, especially in locomotives, large ships, and construction equipment; mineral extraction from ore, gasoline from oil.
Impacts: Forms acid rain; forms atmospheric particles, reducing visibility and aggravafting existing heart and lung diseases.

Particulate matter (PM10)

Sources: Combustion of fossil fuels, forest and stubble fires, mechanical wear of vehicles parts (break lining, tires, etc.).
Impacts: Particles enter deeply into lungs, adhere to tissue; aggravates asthma, causes respiratory illness, causes premature death.

Ozone (O3)

Sources: Ozone is not produced directly by vehicles. Ground-level ozone is produced when nitrogen oxides (NOx), carbon monoxide (CO) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), such as xylene, react in the atmosphere in the presence of sunlight. NOx and VOCs are called ozone precursors.
Impacts: Respiratory illness and distress, ozone makes people more sensitive to allergens, which in turn trigger asthma attacks

http://www.climatechangeconnection.org/Emissions/Tailpipeemissions.htm

Tim Hortons joins drive-thru debate | Kitchener

MERCURY NEWS SERVICES

Mercury news services
September 12, 2008

Terry Pender
Mercury news services

KITCHENER

Tim Hortons went on the offensive yesterday against a possible ban on future drive-thrus in the city.

“If you get rid of drive-thrus, the cars keep coming, and the cars will move to the parking lots,” Nick Javor, a Tim Hortons senior vice-president, warned the environmental advisory committee.

And if cars shift from drive-thru lines to parking lots, it will mean more air pollution, not less, according to a study commissioned by the company.

The study measured vehicle emissions at Tim Hortons in Hamilton, Ottawa and Mississauga — two with drive-thrus and one with no drive-thru.

Study author Mike Lepage of Guelph-based RWDI concluded the public will get no better air-quality if drive-thrus are banned.

In late 2007, Kitchener city staff proposed several options for drive-thrus, ranging from changing their design to not allowing any more.

In response, Tim Hortons said it had a scientific report refuting the perception idling vehicles in drive-thus are a large source of air pollution.

Yesterday, the environmental advisory committee was briefed on the findings:

A car parked for 3.5 minutes to seven minutes and then restarted emits 0.6 grams of smog-related pollutants, 9.9 grams of carbon monoxide and 5.6 grams of carbon dioxide.

A vehicle idling in a drive-thru emits 0.3 grams of smog-related pollutants a minute, 3.4 grams of carbon monoxide and 34 grams of carbon dioxide.

Vehicles crawling through parking lots at up to 10 km/h to reach the drive-thru queue emit 0.4 grams of smog-related pollutants per minute, 3.7 grams of carbon monoxide and 75 grams of carbon dioxide.

The measurements were made in the morning, when drive-thru business peaked at 224 cars an hour.

Tim Hortons operates 1,700 drive-thrus across the country, with those outlets doing half their business at the window.

Lepage said emissions at the drive-thrus account for 0.21 per cent of the greenhouse gases generated by light-duty cars and trucks.

“Drive-thrus are a small part of motor vehicle emissions,” he said.

A single chainsaw causes more pollution than a single drive-thru, he said.

Committee member George Zador said the chainsaw argument was like saying Idi Amin wasn’t so bad because Hitler was worse.

Councillor Berry Vrbanovic, who chairs the advisory committee, wondered how Lepage would counter critics who say his study is biased because Tim Hortons paid for it.

This is why another scientist — chemical engineer Deniz Karman of Carleton University in Ottawa — was asked to review the study, Lepage said. The study has also been submitted to a peer-reviewed journal for publication.

Mark Peterson, a member of the committee, was impressed.

“To hammer away at Tim Hortons may be the wrong direction to be going,” he said. The problems are car-dependent cities and lifestyles, not drive-thrus, he said.

Javor, of Tim Hortons, made a similar argument.

“The answer is very simple,” he said. “Get rid of the car. Getting rid of the car will get rid of all of the emissions, all of the exhaust and all of the problem pollutants we are talking about.”

Committee members asked city staff study the issue and report back on options.

http://news.guelphmercury.com/News/article/379970

STUDY | CARCINOGENS FROM CAR EXHAUST CAN LINGER

From: Science News, Aug. DAY, 2008

Cancer-causing agents’ interaction with nanoparticles could make the chemicals as harmful as cigarette smoke, lab study suggests

By Davide Castelvecchi

The daily exposure to free radicals from car exhaust, smokestacks and even your neighbors’ barbecue could be as harmful as smoking, according to a new study. Many combustion processes, such as those in a car, create tiny particles that may act as brewing pots and carriers for free radicals — chemicals believed to cause lung cancer and cardiovascular diseases.

The findings are from Barry Dellinger of Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, who reported them August 17 in Philadelphia during a meeting of the American Chemical Society. Whether the exposure equates to smoking one cigarette or as many as two packs a day remains difficult to determine, he added.

His team’s lab experiments — first described in the July 1 Environmental Science & Technology — suggest that noxious chemicals form on soot nanoparticles in the still-hot residue of combustion, for example inside a car’s exhaust pipe and catalytic converter.

The chemicals are hydrocarbon-based free radicals called semiquinones.
Similar chemicals usually degrade quickly if they float solo. But in this case, the chemicals stay attached to the nanoparticles, and they linger in the air for much longer than previously thought. “To our enormous surprise, the free radicals survive hours, days, even indefinitely,” Dellinger says.

To mimic the conditions in car exhaust as it cools, Dellinger’s team used silica particles 100 nanometers wide and coated them with copper oxide. The team then exposed the particles to a hot gas — experimenting with a range of different temperatures — containing hydrocarbons typically produced in flames. All those ingredients are common in the exhaust of motor vehicles and factories.

The researchers then examined the nanoparticles with magnetic fields tuned to identify unpaired electrons, the feature that makes free radicals highly reactive and potentially dangerous for living cells.
The data showed a signature typical of free radicals and similar to that of semiquinone, a free radical found in cigarette smoke.

The free radicals, however, only showed up when the initial ingredients had been mixed together at temperatures between 200 and 600 degrees Celsius. That means free radicals are unlikely to form during the actual combustion, which takes place at higher temperatures. Instead, they would likely form once the exhaust begins to cool down.

David Pershing, a chemical engineer at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, says the findings are potentially significant for human health.

Dellinger added that more research is needed to determine not only where someone would be exposed, but also how much the body would absorb.

The exact amount of risk the pollutants pose is hard to estimate, Dellinger said during his presentation. Data on atmospheric pollution provided by the Electric Power Research Institute of Palo Alto, Calif., suggests that the risk could be equivalent to smoking as little as one cigarette a day or as much as more than two packs a day, he said. “It’s early in the game, and there’s a lot of ways of doing these calculations.”

The free radicals discovered by Dellinger’s team would not show up in ordinary smog checks, which detect molecules in the gas state and not those attached to solid nanoparticles, he said.

Even the most modern catalytic converters may be ineffective at eliminating the free radicals. Ironically, even as a catalytic converter breaks down smog-causing pollutants, it may be creating conditions (particularly high temperatures) for the free radicals to form. “You could be destroying some [pollutants] and creating some at the same time,” Dellinger says.

Citations & References:

Lomnicki, S…. and B. Dellinger 2008. Copper oxide-based model of persistent free radical formation on combustion-derived particulate matter. Environmental Science & Technology 42(July 1):4982.

Canadian Medical Association Press Release | National Illness Costs of Air Pollution


New CMA Report Warns Poor Air Quality Killing Canadians

OTTAWA, August 13, 2008 – The Canadian Medical Association released staggering new data today showing that this year alone as many as 21,000 Canadians will die prematurely from the effects of air pollution. While most of those deaths will be due to chronic exposure over a number of years, almost 3,000 will be the result of acute, short-term exposure.

The CMA’s report entitled No Breathing Room: National Illness Costs of Air Pollution, shows the effects of poor air quality based on the concentrations of two highly predictive pollutants – ozone and particulate matter – on four distinct age groups of Canadians.

“With the start of the Olympics in Beijing, much has been made about the poor air quality in China and the effect it is having on our athletes,” said CMA President Dr. Brian Day. “But we have a serious home-grown pollution problem right here and Canadians, ranging from the very young to the very old, are paying the price.”

Specific findings of the No Breathing Room: National Illness Costs of Air Pollution report include:

  • By 2031, almost 90,000 Canadians will have died from the acute short-term effects of air pollution. The number of deaths, due to long-term exposure, will be over 700,000 – the population of Quebec City.
  • In 2008, 80% of those who die due to air pollution will be over age 65.
  • In 2008, 25 Canadians under age 19 will die of the effects of short-term exposure to air pollution.
  • Ontario and Quebec residents are the worst hit Canadians, with 70% of the premature deaths occurring in Central Canada, even though these two provinces comprise only 62% of Canada’s population.
  • In 2008 there will be over 9,000 hospital visits, 30,000 emergency department visits and 620,000 doctor’s office visits due to air pollution.
  • The economic costs of air pollution in 2008 will top $8 billion. By 2031, they will have accumulated to over $250 billion.

“This report shows for the first time the tragic effects of the toxic air that we breathe, whether it is in my hometown of Vancouver, or across the country in St. John’s,” added Dr. Day.

No Breathing Room: National Illness Costs of Air Pollution used a software model first developed by the Ontario Medical Association and provides detailed health and economic data relating to changes in air quality. The study uses the best available knowledge and data on air quality, human health and economics to produce accurate forecasts of health impacts and expected costs related to changes in air quality. The tool has also been validated by a panel of international experts on health and the environment.

The full report, including provincial data and tables, is available at www.cma.ca

For more information:
Contact: Lucie Boileau
Tel. 1800 663-7336 x1266, or 613 731-8610 x1266

http://www.cma.ca/index.cfm/ci_id/86830/la_id/1.htm

The infamous Tim Hortons as featured in the RWDI report | A picture is most definetly worth a thousand words

Here we have it:  Indisputable proof that the Tim Horton’s on Bank Street in Ottawa that does not have a drive-thru will emit less GHG emissions per vehicle visit than a restaurant with an active drive-thru. What better proof that we don’t need drive thrus (more seriously, the photos just demonstrate the importance of doing a full temporal and seasonal assessment of restaurant use). Imagine the statistical evidence if the RWDI study looked at emissions on weekends late afternoon. We also noticed that Bank has street parking from 7:00 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. (or 3:00 p.m.) which pretty well restricts traffic to two lanes (one lane each way). Imagine if you are waiting 8 minutes trying to get into the crowded parking lot, holding up traffic in Ottawa South. While Tim Hortons may suggest that this just provides further evidence that drive-thrus are ‘good for climate change’, we counter with the view that a car dependent culture is the root cause of the problem, and that we need more parking or improved access by more sustainable alternatives to the Single Occupant Vehicle when locating Tim Horton restaurants.

Taken on July 19th, 2008 at 5:30 p.m.

Annual tons of CO2 per person

Annual tons of CO2 per person

Check this out for reflection:

Annual tons of CO2 per person:

Ethiopia: .01

India: 1.1

China: 3.2

Sweden: 5.6

France: 6.2

UK: 9.4

Japan: 9.7

Germany: 9.8

CANADA: 17.9

USA: 19.8

It’s us, the one billion affluent people of the world whose footprints are crushing the planet.  Do we have the discipline to step more lightly?  We are losing respect of our international community.  The mass consumption of our society has created an epidemic of obesity, asthma, respiratory problems, etc.

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