AUDIO (9:55) | Feds revamp stance on idling after meeting with drive-thru group | Tim Hortons Greenwash

CBC AUDIO.

In case you missed it the first time.

We are sending this out as there are many new councillors across the country that have recently taken on this issue.

This strategy of “manufacturing scientific uncertainty” comes directly from the industry’s denialism playbook. The industry invests big money for public relations campaign to raise doubts about the increasingly definitive scientific evidence. They realize that if you could argue about the science, then you can stop municipalities from trying to address the problem. If the new ‘science’ which is bought and paid by industry doesn’t work, they fall back on the argument of ‘choice’ – whatever the risk to society, it the citizens right to do so. This is just another example of industry’s scientific consultants who specialize in product defense. Not unlike tobacco, oil and climate change. Corporate spin experts have recognized that manufacturing doubt works and if they do it well they can stop government legislation, or at least slow them down for years. This is a growing trend that disingenuously demands proof over precaution in the realm of public health.

AUDIO: Reporter Giacomo Panico discusses the details on CBC Radio’s Ottawa Morning

http://cbc.ca/ottawa/media/audio/ottawamorning/20080811drive.ram

Feds revamp stance on idling after meeting with drive-thru group

Last Updated: Monday, August 11, 2008 | 11:35 AM ET

CBC News

A federal government website that highlights the negative health and environmental effects of idling your engine has revamped its message after meeting with a group representing drive-thru restaurants.

‘It’s gonna make it harder for every city politician to make the argument that we need to have restrictive legislation on idling.’— Ottawa Coun. Clive Doucet

The “Idle-Free Zone,” a website managed by Natural Resources Canada’s office of energy efficiency, was removed for review following a meeting with the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association. A revised version was posted five months later, on July 22, that:

  • Advises drivers to shut off their engines after 60 seconds of idling; the previous version advocated turning engines off after 10 seconds.
  • Does not refer to 5,000 premature deaths annually in Canada linked to air pollution, as the previous version did, and no longer includes posters bearing images such as a girl choking and slogans such as “Idling is killing our environment.”

The website says its purpose is to help communities and environmental groups stop engine idling.

Carol Buckley, director general of the office of energy efficiency, confirmed that the restaurant association met with Natural Resources Minister Gary Lunn on Feb. 7.

According to Lunn’s spokeswoman, Louise Girouard, no one from the office of energy efficiency attended the meeting. Girouard confirmed that an e-mail was sent from Lunn’s office on Feb. 8 asking the site to be taken down.

Buckley said the site was temporarily removed because the office didn’t want to leave any misleading information online while it was being revised.

“We wanted to make sure that the website reflected all of the latest data and information that was available about this topic,” she said, adding that in the end the changes were “not really significant.”

The change to the recommended amount of idling time was made because of access to new research taking into account the wear and tear on a car’s battery and starter caused by shutting off and restarting the engine, she said. Previously, the site said such wear and tear was minimal.

The new site now also refers readers to Health Canada instead of detailing the health impacts of idling because Natural Resources felt that wasn’t really their jurisdiction and they wanted to focus on the effects on climate change, Buckley added.

“I think the emphasis in the earlier text was a little strong. Today’s vehicles are more efficient when it comes to smog emissions,” she said.

Site ‘lacks balance’: restaurant group

Joyce Reynolds, executive vice-president for government affairs for the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association, said the group corresponded with a number of government officials at various levels about the website, which was used by many municipalities to develop their own anti-idling bylaws.

‘What I would like to see is that Natural Resources Canada put the same amount of emphasis on these other driving behaviours that they do on idling.’— Joyce Reynolds, Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association

“Our concern is that municipal decision-making must be based on facts and scientific evidence,” she said. “And we were seeing some municipalities that were focusing on the health impacts of idling based on information that was incorrect and misleading.”

The association argues Natural Resources Canada didn’t put enough weight on pollution caused by a puff of contaminants produced when an engine is restarted after being shut down.

Reynolds said some of that misleading information on the “Idle-Free Zone” site has now been corrected, but the site still “lacks balance.”

In particular, she said, it doesn’t deal with other driving behaviours that cause greenhouse gas and pollution emissions, such as excessive speeding, rapid acceleration and poor vehicle maintenance.

“What I would like to see is that Natural Resources Canada put the same amount of emphasis on these other driving behaviours that they do on idling,” Reynolds said.

With regards to idling, the changes to the site will have an impact on municipalities, Ottawa city Coun. Clive Doucet said.

“It’s gonna make it harder for every city politician to make the argument that we need to have restrictive legislation on idling. It’s not good news for cities anywhere,” said Doucet, who pushed hard for an anti-idling bylaw in Ottawa.

A bylaw banning idling for more than three minutes in Ottawa went into effect on Jan. 1, 2008.

With the aim of reducing pollution from idling cars, a number of cities in Canada — including London, Ont., North Vancouver and Sarnia, Ont. — are thinking about making it tougher for restaurants to build new drive-thrus.

Gordon Taylor, an engineering consultant who has done air-quality studies for Natural Resources Canada, suggested that the restaurant association could be taking another approach to deal with criticism of drive-thrus.

“I think the restaurant association should have some kind of a pro-active campaign to say, ‘Hey, if there’s a big long lineup, consider walking in the door.’ ”

http://www.cbc.ca/health/story/2008/08/11/ot-drivethru-080811.html

Local Issue | Contact Councillors on the Idling Recommendation

Dear Citizens,

As citizens of London, you have an opportunity to voice your concern for our shared natural environment.  The startling stats can be found below.

The City of London will be making changes to our idling bylaw which was introduced in 1999.  City staff have recommended a one minute anti-idling bylaw with exemptions for temperature only for severe temperatures.

Proposed Amendments June 1st 2009

On June 1st it was amended to three minutes by ETC (Environment & Transportation Committee) and our current temperature exemptions were added back in.  Currently – Toronto is looking at ten seconds.  Burlington is 60 seconds with no temperature exemption.

If you missed the deadline today at 9am for the agenda – you have until the June 15th, 9am, for your comments to be added on as ‘added’ communications.  On the 15th the recommendation will go to council.  On the 22nd – there will be a public participation meeting.

Lastly – please engage your family and friends to write in a brief submission or call our elected officials in support of the one minute bylaw as presented by city staff. (Removing the amendments made at ETC which made it much weaker).  Our councillors want to hear from us.

Thank you in advance for your care and concern for we all breathe the same air.

It is our hope that sooner rather than later municipalities across Canada and the world will find the political will for a 10 second maximum tolerance on idling, as well addressing the infamous drive-thru issue.  Drive-thrus continue to proliferate as climate change escalates and air pollution becomes more and more dire.  For more information contact Canadians for Action on Climate Change: canadianclimateaction@gmail.com

Email addresses | Copy & Paste:

adecicco@london.ca,

bmacdona@london.ca

barmstro@london.ca,

bpolhill@london.ca

cmiller@london.ca

councillors@london.ca

dwinning@london.ca

gbarber@london.ca

ghume@london.ca

husher@london.ca

jbaechle@london.ca

jbryant@london.ca

nancy@nanbran.com

paul@paulhubert.ca

pvanmeer@london.ca

rcaranci@london.ca

sorser@london.ca

seagle@london.ca

tgosnell@london.ca

wloncc558@rogers.com

Please Cc:

Kevin Bain (City of London Clerk) kbain@london.ca

Linda Rowe (City of London Secretary) lrowe@london.ca

The Numbers:

  • Ontario’s smog causes 9,500 deaths per year, medical association says.  Of these 1,000 occurred immediately after times of intense pollution.
  • The research on the human costs of pollution and pollution-related diseases estimated that around 21,000 people in Canada will die from breathing in toxic substances drifting in the air this year with 3,000 of those deaths due to short-term exposure to smog.
  • By 2031, short term exposure to air pollution will claim close to 90,000 lives in Canada, while long-term exposure will kill more than 700,000, the report said.
  • Ontario and Quebec residents are the worst hit Canadians, with 70 percent of the premature deaths occurring in Central Canada.
  • In the past 15 years alone, there has been a fourfold increase in asthma in children under 15 in Canada.
  • OMA estimates for annual premature deaths (2130) due to smog in Toronto alone were almost three times the number of deaths (831) Health Canada attributes to secondhand smoke exposure for the whole of Canada.
  • In 2008, 80 per cent of those who die due to air pollution will be over 65.
  • 25 Canadians under 19 will die from short-term acute pollution exposure this year.
  • Children are the most vulnerable breathing 50% more air per pound than adults.
  • A child’s breathing zone is lower than adults so they are more exposed to vehicle exhausts and heavier pollutants that concentrate at lower levels in the air.
  • In 2008 there will more than 9,000 hospital visits and 30,000 emergency room visits, and 620,000 doctor’s office visits, stemming from air pollution.
  • Eight thousand people a day die from air pollution. There are 3 million annual deaths, worldwide.
  • Emissions from an individual idling a car in London, will emit nearly the same amount of emissions volume as the total annual emissions from an individual in Bangladesh.
  • More than 20 million people have been displaced by climate-related sudden-onset natural disasters in 2008 alone, according to a new study by OCHA and the Norwegian Refugee Council’s (NRC) Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre.
  • The total number of people affected by natural disasters due to accelerating climate change has risen sharply over the past 10 years, with an average of 211 million people directly affected each year, nearly five times the number impacted by conflict in the same period.
  • April 2009: CO2 hits 800,000-year high at Mauna Loa Observatory Mauna Loa Observatory, Hawaii (USA) Atmospheric CO2 reached 389.47 parts per million (ppm).
  • Wednesday June 10th – co2 went up again.  It is now at 390.18
  • The human respiratory system can only handle an upper level of 426 ppmv before the blood begins to become acidic after long-term exposure.

The Costs:

  • The national economy: air pollution will top eight billion dollars in 2008, and by 2031 it will go over 250 billion.
  • The Ontario Medical Association estimated that health care costs caused by poor air quality in 2000 would amount to nearly $630 million, not to mention the $566 million in costs due to workers taking sick days.
  • In Ontario alone, lost productivity will cost Canada $349,400 this year. By 2031 that will total over $9 million in damage.
  • Healthcare costs in the province will be $221,800 this year, up to almost $6.5 million total by 2031.
  • Economic damage to quality of life will hit $194,100 in Ontario in 2008, up to $265,000 in 2031 and totalling almost $5.5 million by that time.
  • Economic damage due to loss of life will cost $3,644,100 in 2008, rising to $6,367,200 in 2031, and totalling $115,674,500 by 2031.

Air Releases of Carcinogens by Province

Rank Provinces Air Releases of Toxics
of Carcinogens (kg)
Percentage
1 Ontario 2,736,369 38. 18 %
2 Alberta 1,283,727 17. 91 %
3 Quebec 1,261,851 17. 61 %
4 British Columbia 797,639 11. 13 %
5 New Brunswick 392,403 5. 47 %
6 Manitoba 369,686 5. 16 %
7 Saskatchewan 115,839 1. 62 %
8 Nova Scotia 97,280 1. 36 %
9 Newfoundland 65,029 . 91 %
10 Northwest Territories 29,103 . 41 %
11 Prince Edward Island 18,325 . 26 %

http://www.pollutionwatch.org/

Think drive-thrus are insignificant?  Think again …

idling-report-markham1

We have used the calculations provided to us in this study (idling times are completely in line with Tim Horton’s own study (3-4.5 minutes) & with the national average of 3.84 seconds) to produce a very conservative number for the total number of emissions, etc. produced in London drive-thrus.

London has 156 drive-thrus – so we have based our amounts on (29 x 5) 145 as opposed to 156 to keep our results conservative.

Here are the results: (City of London only)

  • Idling time: 108, 795, 760 minutes.
  • Fuel Wasted: 2, 175, 925 litres of fuel wasted.
  • Emissions: 590 tons of carbon dioxide & other pollutants.
  • To offset this amount of pollutants in one year we would need to plant 29,220 trees.
  • Fuel wasted – enough for an average car to circle the globe 425 times.

And this is ONLY London based on only 150 drive-thrus. Imagine the result from all cities in Ontario, in Canada, in North America, in the world.

For more info. on this study (data) please contact us at councilofcanadians.london@sympatico.ca

We thank Dave De Sylva for taking the time, effort, (out of pocket) costs and conviction to produce this report.

https://drivethrulies.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?action=edit&post=309

Idling at drive-thrus creates health problems

Idling at drive-thrus creates health problems  | Beverley J. Anderson is the air quality educator for the Williams Lake Environmental Society, in partnership with the Williams Lake Air Quality Roundtable

Published: June 05, 2009 7:00 PM

People like drive-thrus.  So do fast food chains, since drive-thrus supply more than half of their business.

Banks have now gotten into the act, and there are even plans for drive-thru pharmacies.

You can enjoy a donut and coffee, burger and fries, transfer funds to your chequing account, and fill your prescriptions without ever leaving the car.  No problem.

Except, that is, for a little environmental problem caused by people idling their cars in drive-thru lineups.  Idling is when the motor is running but the car doesn’t move.

Forty-five seconds of idling burns the same amount of fuel it takes to drive one kilometer.

Calculations drawn from a Canadian survey (NRCan’s website) of driving habits and behaviour suggest that many Canadian motorists idle their vehicles for about eight minutes a day (especially in the winter) resulting in a combined total of more than 75 million minutes of idling a day.

This day alone uses more than 2.2 million litres of fuel and produces more than five million kilograms of greenhouse gases (GHGs) and is equal to the amount of fuel required to drive more than 1100 vehicles for a year or to idle one vehicle for 144 years!

The popularity of drive-thrus means longer lines and longer wait times, which means more idling.  Environmentalists, city governments, and TV reporters have noticed.

A CBC news team recently staked out a restaurant drive-thru in Winnipeg for one hour, and not long before that natural resource economists from the University of Alberta observed a restaurant in Edmonton for 54 hours.

In both cases the average wait for every car was just over 5 minutes.

Their study also found that motorists in Edmonton spent almost 5,000 hours idling at drive-thrus annually; it was also estimated that, at a single fast-food outlet outlet, the carbon dioxide emissions were 385 kg per day, or about the same amount of emissions as 17,300 SUVs create on the road.

And what about the potential health hazard to drivers essentially bathing in fumes while waiting in line or the staff who are serving at the windows and have no choice but to breath this in?

The provincial health officer has identified fine particulates (one of the pollutants in vehicle emissions) as the most serious form of air pollution in B.C. when it comes to direct impacts on people’s health.

To top it off, idling for just 15 minutes a week (say, two minutes and a bit for a coffee every day) burns through an extra $60 to $100 of fuel a year, and with the rise in fuel costs we are seeing these days, this will only increase.

If this were in Toronto, London, Niagara Falls, Richmond or any other Canadian city with anti-idling rules, they would also be breaking the law.  Idling bylaws usually make three minutes the legal cutoff.

Other sources such as Natural Resources Canada division of the federal government recommend cutting the engine after 10 seconds.  After that you’re wasting more gas than you would use to restart your car. They focus heavily on what is good for your vehicle — and your wallet.

They report that restarting your car has little impact on the starter and fuel pump: http://www.aboutmyplanet.com/environment/dont-drive-through.

Any wear and tear incurred is more than made up in the fuel savings.

More than anything, cars and trucks are not designed to idle.

Excessive idling can cause grease, grime and other build-up to accumulate on other engine parts.

Plus, if every Canadian motorist avoided idling for just three minutes every day of the year, carbon dioxide emissions could be reduced by 1.4 million tonnes annually. This would be equal to saving 630 million litres of fuel and equivalent to taking 320,000 cars off of the road for the entire year.

Eliminating unnecessary idling is one easy action that Canadians can take to reduce their GHG emissions that are contributing to climate change

Everyone agrees, however, that idling comes down to every driver’s choices. So, next time you’re in a rush to get a coffee, why not beat the smog-filled line-up snaking around the building and just park.

Chances are you’ll be in and out faster than you would if you were still waiting in the drive-thru.

Beverley J. Anderson is the air quality educator for the Williams Lake Environmental Society, in partnership with the Williams Lake Air Quality Roundtable.

Phone 250-392-5997 or e-mail bevanderson09@gmail.com for more information.

http://www.bclocalnews.com/bc_cariboo/williamslaketribune/lifestyles/47007192.html

Expert’s advice: Don’t waste gas in idle time at fast-food windows

Expert’s advice: Don’t waste gas in idle time at fast-food windows

Friday, June 05, 2009

BY T.W. BURGER tburger@patriot-news.com

Robert Davis has a pet peeve.

The retired Navy submariner and PECO energy-efficiency expert sees long lines of vehicles sitting in line at fast-food restaurant drive-through windows and it drives him crazy.

Davis is no off-the-wall crackpot. He has done his homework, counting cars at fast-food joints near his home in South Lebanon Twp., doing research and interviewing the owner of one of the stores.

The way Davis figures it, drivers waste $103,000 or more in gas a year waiting in line for food at just those three restaurants. That’s a considerable amount of money for people to sit and wait for a burger and fries — while tables inside sit empty.

“It’s a big waste,” said Davis, 74. “I talked to the owner at the place down the road. He said 75 percent of his business is at the drive-through.”

So, what is the solution?

Davis has one of those, “well, DOH!” answers.

“People should just go into the store,” he said. “Half the time you go in and the drive-through will have a long line, and the inside isn’t busy at all. The only ones using the windows should be the disabled or people with kids in the back of the car. Is that good sense, or what? What’s hard about that?”

Critics have long said drive-through restaurants add to pollution and waste resources and fuel the nation’s collective obesity.

National Restaurant Association officials have said, through prepared statements, that the choice to use the drive-through or go inside is one made by consumers.

So, is the drive-through really faster?

In an admittedly unscientific test, a crack investigative team — namely, this reporter — picked a fast-food franchise at random in Lower Paxton Twp. at lunchtime Thursday to see how the drive-through compared to getting lunch from the counter.

There were eight vehicles in line. The 4×4 pickup ahead of us jackrabbited away each time the sedan in front of him moved forward. He gunned to the window too fast and stopped too far away to grab the bag from the attendant. He had to lean way out the window to get his lunch and change. Very cool.

The elapsed time from when we entered the line until we were handed the bag of food? Nine minutes, not including the time spent sticking change into a pocket after we left the line.

We parked, walked in, and ordered a coffee to go with the sandwich.

It took seven minutes, from car door to car door.

OK, it was only two minutes faster. But that was seven minutes when the car was not running.

Using the information that Davis has collected, the average wait in a drive-through line uses enough gas to go five to six miles. Those seven vehicles in line ahead of us sucked down enough fuel to drive about 40 miles.

By the way, about half of the tables inside the restaurant were open. At lunchtime.

Davis and a herd of environmentalists and economists with him believe that if Americans simply become more efficient in their lifestyles, dependence on imported oil would no longer be an issue.

“How many guys have spilled their blood so that we can drive our cars?” Davis asked, rhetorically. “We have to be more mindful of what we’re doing.

http://www.pennlive.com/news/patriotnews/index.ssf?/base/news/124416510232520.xml&coll=1

You Can Help! Hand Out These Flyers to Idling Cars

http://www.sierraclub.bc.ca/quick-links/Turn%20it%20off%20handout.pdf

Idle-Wise campaign: One small action by a single person does have enormous impact.  Alone, it is a symbol – an example to many others.  When multiplied over hundreds, thousands and millions, it can be world-changing.  One small action every person can take is to shut off their vehicle if idling for 10 seconds or more, and to urge others do the same.  Turning off your engine saves gas and money, as well as cutting down on CO2 and air pollution.  We no longer accept people littering or giving us their second hand cigarette smoke.  Vehicle idling has even more serious implications, so let’s shut off our idle engines and educate other people to do the same.

Sierra magazine | Idling cars are an economic and an environmental disaster

Harming the environment is no idle threat | Idling cars are an economic and an environmental disaster

Sierra magazine, March/April 2009 issue, p. 14

How many times have you sat in line for several minutes at a bank or fast-food drive-through and wondered how much gas you were wasting? Perhaps you even thought of the possible environmental damage the idling cars was causing?

Idling is costly, in several ways: “Every hour you idle, you waste up to 0.7 gallons of gas (depending on your engine type) going nowhere. So it pays to turn your engine off if you’re going to be still for more than 30 seconds.

“In a given year, U.S. cars burn some 1.4 billion gallons of fuel just idling. Not to mention idling trucks, which waste another 1.5 billion gallons. Collectively, we emit about 58 million tons of carbon dioxide while we’re essentially doing nothing.”

Whether one goes to McDonald’s or Wendy’s or Burger King or another fast-food outlet, it takes on average close to 2 1/2 minutes to get your order and be on your way. McDonald’s consumers alone account for burning more than 7.25 million gallons of gas waiting in line!

The entire fast-food industry? We waste about 50 million gallons of gas!

All of that is bad enough. But we’re spreading our lazy, wastrel habits to the rest of the world which bodes nothing but ill for the future. “…McDonald’s plans to open 25 drive-throughs in China, following KFC’s lead. KFC installed its first drive-through there in 2002 and is working on 100 more. If China and India, which is also jumping aboard the drive-through bandwagon, get up to speed, they can idle away a truly staggering figure: 30 billion gallons of gas. Every year.”

The High Cost to Society of Idling

Problems caused by idling

There are a number of problems associated with idling:


It’s expensive

Even if the vehicle isn’t moving, if the engine is running, gas and oil are being consumed. With fuel prices as high as they are, few of us can afford to be wasteful. But we are – and to a startling extent! A recent study suggests that during the winter, Canadians idle their vehicles for a combined total of more than 75 million minutes a day, the same as one vehicle idling for 144 years. If every driver of a light-duty vehicle in Canada avoided idling for just 5 minutes we would save 1.9 million litres of fuel worth more than $1.9 million.

Vehicle idling is a great concern to for many businesses and industries, particularly those that have fleets of vehicles for moving goods or people. The average long-haul truck idles away up to $1,790 in profits a year.

It’s bad for breathing

Burning fossil fuels like gas and oil produce emissions that aggravate existing heart and lung diseases, and cause respiratory illnesses. For example, two common tailpipe emissions – hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxides – react to form ground-level ozone. Ozone irritates and inflames the respiratory tract.

Do you know anyone with asthma? They’ll thank you for not uselessly idling your car. Ground-level ozone has been implicated as a bronchoconstrictor, causing airways to shrink or close, precipitating deadly asthma attacks. According to Health Canada, more than 16,000 Canadians die prematurely every year because of air pollution.

It’s bad for children

Children are particularly vulnerable to poor air quality – they breathe faster than adults and inhale more air per pound of body weight. Air pollution tends to be worse in the late afternoon, precisely when driving parents gather to pick up their children, who excitedly rush from school into clouds of exhaust from idling vehicles. Idling vehicles are also a safety issue.  Children are unaware of a vehicles intent when it sits idling.

It’s ineffective

Contrary to popular belief, idling is not an effective way to warm up your vehicle, even in cold weather. The best way to do this is to drive. In fact, with today’s modern engines, you need no more than 30 seconds of idling on winter days before driving away.

Idling only warms the engine, not the wheel bearings, steering, suspension, transmission, and tires. These parts also need to be warmed up, and the only way to do that is to get the vehicle moving.

It’s damaging

Idling isn’t good for your vehicle. Here’s why: an idling engine is not operating at its peak temperature, which means fuel combustion is incomplete. This leaves fuel residues that can condense on cylinder walls, where they contaminate oil and damage engine components such as spark plugs. When spark plugs are fouled, fuel consumption increases by 4 to 5 percent. Finally, idling can allow water to condense in the vehicle’s exhaust, causing rust in the exhaust system. As if the mean, salty winter roads weren’t enough to corrode your muffler to flaky brown bits.