Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Campaign Against Engine Idling

Environmental Defense featured a story today about NJ's new "Stop the Soot" campaign against engine idling. A new law makes it a crime to idle a diesel engine for more than 3 minutes unless it is very cold or the vehicle is loading or unloading passengers--it is always unlawful to idle for more than 15 minutes. Here are some factoids about engine idling:

From the EPA:
Combined, truck and locomotive idling consumes over 1 billion gallons of diesel fuel annually. Long-duration truck idling consumes approximately 960 million gallons of diesel fuel annually and locomotive switcher idling consumes 60 million gallons of diesel fuel annually.

Long-duration truck idling emits 11 million tons of carbon dioxide, 180,000 tons of nitrogen oxides, and 5,000 tons of particulate matter annually. For detailed information about idling nitrogen oxide emissions view EPA's Study on Long-Duration Truck Idling, above.


From the Natural Resources Canada:

Health impacts of idling

Carbon dioxide is only one by-product of fuel combustion – the vehicles Canadians drive every day also generate other toxic substances that are fouling our air, contributing to urban smog and threatening our health.

Studies by Health Canada and community health departments and agencies have shown a direct link between contaminants in vehicle emissions and significant respiratory health effects. These studies have concluded that poor air quality and smog – caused in part by vehicle exhaust – are resulting in increased hospital admissions, respiratory illnesses and premature deaths, particularly in urban areas.

In fact, Health Canada estimates that more than 5000 Canadians die prematurely each year because of air pollution, and thousands more become unnecessarily ill. Children are particularly vulnerable to air pollution because they breathe faster than adults and inhale more air per kilogram of body weight. Air pollution also causes unnecessary difficulty for elderly people and those with respiratory problems, such as asthma, emphysema and chronic bronchitis.

Comment: Diesel engines are the biggest culprits, but all engine idling wastes gas, causes unnecessary carbon emissions, endangers respiratory health, and even damages engines.

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