The Bottom Line – Idling Kills

There are now more refugees displaced by climate change environmental disasters than there are refugees displaced by war.  People with families – just like us.  It is sad to know that the people who did little to  contribute to climate change are the very ones suffering the most.  The poor choices we continue to make are killing other people.  Other species.  Each and every minute.  Are we so entitled that we cannot see beyond our own wants?  Not even when it comes to the health of our own children?  Does this not go directly against the most natural instinct in every woman and man?  The natural instinct to protect your child at any and every sacrifice?  The damage to our children’s lungs goes largely unnoticed.  We don’t see our children’s lungs each morning at the breakfast table. Toronto’s medical officer has released a report stating a 30% reduction in vehicle emissions could save 200 lives, one billion dollars a year in health care costs and 68,000 asthma attacks for children a year.  If we had 68,000 children dying a year from leukemia – it would be nothing less than that of a crisis.  One must wonder why there is such apathy towards these numbers when pollution is something we can clearly defeat. The selfish excuse to use drive-thrus because you have children is the poorest excuse when it is ultimately our children’s lives, by way of their health and their future that we are destroying.  If we love our children – surely we can do something as simple as stop idling wherever possible. Whether it is at a railway tracks, waiting at the school or at a drive-thru – the end result is the same.  Idling kills.
Natural Resources Canada clearly states: If your car is stopped for more than ten seconds – turn off your engine.

Stopping Idling

Utah Moms Fight Idling. By Elaine Jarvik, Salt Lake Deseret Morning News, January 5, 2008. “On a typical afternoon you’ll see Dana Clark knocking on the window of some car idling in front of the school across from her house. Politely, Clark will explain that turning off an idling engine is something that moms can do to help clean up Utah’s filthy air. But what’s really needed, says Clark, is a more systematic approach — not just a few moms knocking on a few windows but a whole state full of moms lobbying for change. Clark is one of the co-founders of Utah Moms for Clean Air, begun seven months ago… Utah Moms for Clean Air is lobbying for public transportation as a priority over construction of the Mountain View Corridor and will lobby the state to adopt stricter car-emission standards. The group has also been working with the Environmental Protection Agency and local school districts to retrofit diesel school buses so they run more cleanly, and has called for a moratorium on the construction of new coal-fired power plants in Utah and elsewhere.”

Truck Idling Limits Take Effect in California. By Nathan Phelps, Green Bay Press-Gazette, January 3, 2008. “Truck drivers operating in California will face a new regulation this year… aimed at limiting the amount of nitrogen oxide emissions from ‘both in-state and out-of-state registered sleeper berth-equipped trucks.’ Those vehicles had previously been exempted. Idling in California is now limited to five minutes at any location. A pair of Green Bay area carriers say one of the biggest challenges the regulation will pose is keeping the cab cool in the summer, one of the key factors in allowing their drivers to get adequate rest… Under California regulations, violators could face fines starting at $300 and increasing to as much as $1,000 per day. Violators may also face criminal charges.”

Tainan City Becomes First in Taiwan to Ban Idling. Taipei China Post, January 3, 2008. “All motorists and motorcyclists in Tainan City in southern Taiwan are now required to avoid idling the engines of their vehicles for more than three minutes or face fines… City officials yesterday began enforcing the anti-idling policy at the instruction of Mayor Hsu Tain-tsai with an aim to help improve air pollution. The measure makes Tainan the first city or county in [Taiwan] to prohibit drivers from leaving their vehicles’ engines running for more than three minutes when the vehicles are parked. Except those driving police vehicles or fire trucks, drivers who try to evade, interfere with or refuse inspections will face a fine for engine idling.”

CBC Video – The Environmenal Cost of Drive-thrus


The environmental cost (Runs 3:05)

Drivers, stop your engines

May 21, 2008

The City of Toronto is launching an anti-idling blitz, part of a campaign to educate the public about the impacts of vehicles left idling. “Not idling vehicles is a simple thing that all of us can do in order to reduce pollution in our city,” said Glenn De Baeremaeker, chair of the city’s Public Works and Infrastructure Committee. “In fact‚ if all drivers of light-duty vehicles in Canada avoided idling for just five minutes a day we would prevent more than 1.6 million tonnes of green house gases from entering the atmosphere. That’s the equivalent of taking 490‚000 cars off the road.”

Under the Toronto’s anti-idling bylaw, most vehicles left idling for more than three minutes in a 60-minute period are subject to a fine of $100 plus a $25 provincial surcharge.

“With our bylaw, we can write tickets, but we’d prefer to see people voluntarily turn off their engines and take a crucial step to improving the air that we breathe,” added De Baeremaeker. “But the purpose of this campaign is to educate the public about a small way that they can really make a difference. If you stop idling, you’ll help keep the air clean and you’ll save yourself some money.”

The city, in partnership with the Toronto Police Service, is encouraging drivers to reduce their vehicle idling by reducing warm-up idling (just turn on the engine and go) and turning off the engine when stopped for more than 10 seconds, except in traffic.

Written by admin · Filed Under politics

Deconstructing the Tim Horton’s RWDI Study

The RWDI study has been publicized as proof that eliminating drive-throughs would provide no improvement for the environment. This conclusion can be found in the summary of conclusions on page 24. The real truth however can be found in Appendix D, which shows the emissions by store and by scenario.

The study looked at four Tim Horton locations.

1. Hamilton – Concession Street (has a drive through)

2. Ottawa – Bank Street and Huron Road (has a drive through)

3. Mississauga – Dundas Street (has a drive through)

4. Ottawa – 1263 Bank Street (has no drive through)

Appendix D notes that at the 4th facility with no drive through the parking lot was congested with 124 cars waiting for parking spots. It also notes that 262 vehicles were observed idling unattended at this location adding to emissions.

Looking at CO2 as a representative pollutant emission, here is how the four locations looked for non-peak hours.


# of Vehicles per hour

Walk-in (emissions)

Drive Through (emissions)

1. (Hamilton)

2. (Ottawa)

3. (Mississauga)

4. (Ottawa)

141 (DT)


165 (DT)


106 (DT)



56.8 (g/vehicle)

57.2 (g/vehicle)

57.3 (g/vehicle)

156.7 (g/vehicle)

172.8 (g/vehicle)

131.2 (g/vehicle)

177.3 (g/vehicle)

Looking at CO2 as a representative pollutant emission, here is how the four locations looked for the peak hour.


Walk-in (emissions)

Drive Through (emissions)

1. (Hamilton)

2. (Ottawa)

3. (Mississauga)

4. (Ottawa)

5,340 (grams per peak hour)

5,316 (grams per peak hour)

4,180 (grams per peak hour)

17,085 (grams per peak hour)

24,363 (grams per peak hour)

21,647 (grams per peak hour)

18,792 (grams per peak hour)

Now I have only presented CO2 emissions here but they are representative of other emissions presented in the study. You don’t have to be a scientist to see that the emissions from not using a drive-through significantly are lower.

Jim Mahon

London and District Labour Council

Environment Committee Chair

Live Counter: Fuel Consumed From Unneccessary Idling

Amount of Fuel Consumed From Unneccessary Idling

Check out the live counter on this page:

Turn Off Your Engine! (studies & links within article)

Turn Off Your Engine! (studies & links within article)

December 19, 2007 | Posted by Mel Peffers in Automobiles & Fuels

This post is by Mel Peffers, Air Quality Project Manager at Environmental Defense.

Many people idle their car engine in winter because they think it needs time to warm up. Not true! Today’s fuel-injected engines don’t need a warm-up period, and idling for long periods can lead to excessive engine wear.

Worse, cars idling for over 10 seconds use more gas and create more global warming pollution than simply restarting the engine. Surprised? It’s true. The 10-second rule has been proven empirically.

The 10-second rule was originally published by the Canadian Office of Energy Efficiency – Idle-Free Zone. Their results were replicated by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, which found that restarting uses the same amount of fuel as idling with the air conditioner on for 6 seconds.

Besides contributing to global warming, diesel engine emissions can cause a whole host of health problems – asthma attacks, impaired lung function, heart problems, and even death. (See this CARB report on health effects for details.)

Idling is a significant problem in large cities like New York and Los Angeles where people are often stuck in traffic. A car in gridlock emits up to three times the pollution as one in free-flowing driving conditions.

Environmental Defense is working with the City of New York on reducing traffic congestion (see We’re also working with Mayor Bloomberg on tougher enforcement of the existing idling law, which has been in effect for five years. Plus we are working on a no-idling policy for school buses in Texas, and Truck Stop Electrification (TSE) expansion so truckers won’t need to idle overnight while sleeping. Our GreenFleet initiative helps fleet owners reduce emissions.

Avoiding pollution and engine wear aren’t the only benefits to not idling. You also can save gas and money. Here are some studies that demonstrate it: – “…you can drastically improve your gas mileage.”

Homemade Hybrids – “I kicked the idling habit and saved a gallon of gas per tank.”

With this Cost of Idling worksheet [PDF] from Argonne National Laboratories, you can calculate the savings for your own vehicle. For more tips on clean driving, visit Car Talk’s “Driving Tips for Tree-huggers“.

Not idling is good for the environment, good for your wallet, good for engines, and good for health. Everyone wins by simply shutting off an idling engine.

Make A Leap: LEAP – Lowering Emissions and Particulates

The environment is everyone’s responsibility. We are all consumers. We are all drivers. One person can truly make a difference where their vehicle is concerned. By practicing better Idling etiquette, that is consideration for others when your vehicle is running but not moving, we can all make a significant impact on things around us. You can reduce harmful airborne particles, reduce global warming, avert a fuel crisis, heal our economy, and save the environment. Imagine if people were able to start today. The world would be a greener place tomorrow. Make a LEAP today to find out what you can do in your community.

Auto dealer clears up IDLING myths 2

Auto dealer clears up IDLING myths 1