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We have all seen it. A car sitting outside a store somewhere in P.E.I., running, sometimes with no one in it. Letting your car idle while in park might not seem like a big deal. In fact many of us of a certain generation were taught that it was better to let your car idle before you drove it. However, the facts are that letting your car idle is detrimental to the modern engine (most inefficient mode), wastes gas and causes environmental damage. Modern engines do not need more than a few seconds of idling time before they should be driven.
In addition, turning your vehicle off and on does not cause engine damage, drain the battery or waste gas. Batteries now use less power per engine start, have greater power reserves and recharge faster. Starters are also stronger and more reliable. The amount of wear and tear caused by restarting a car is negligible. In fact, many new vehicles now automatically turn the engine off when idling. Engineers estimate it is more fuel efficient to turn a car off and on rather than let it idle for more than 10 seconds. Exhaust from idling vehicles is “dirty exhaust” and contributes lung and respiratory problems, asthma and allergies. It has high levels of carbon dioxide which is the leading contributor to escalating climate change and global warming.
The bottom line is that choosing not to idle is better for your car, saves you money on gas and helps reduce the most harmful emissions. Choosing not to idle in our cars may be one of the simplest and most effortless things we can do to help our environment.
However, it can be uncomfortable to approach people who might be idling in their car and explain to them the benefits of choosing not to idle. Many people see it as criticism instead of education. The best way to encourage people in vehicles not to idle is to encourage out local governments and institutions to make no idling a priority, to post ‘no idling’ signs at those places where idling is common and to educate their communities about the benefits of eliminating idling.
It’s not that hard to do folks. And in the P.E.I.’s current social and political climate, it’s an easy slam dunk!