Sunday, January 9, 2011

I want to start an Anti-Idling campaign

No lah, ini bukan pasal budaya lepak, tapi more on enjin lepak!

I always have a problem with those car owners who leave their cars idling.

For what ever reasons.

They would leave the car idling while waiting to pick up their kids from mengaji, or running errands. No, they did not wait for 3 mins; sometimes it is more than 30 mins. On average, I would say over 10 mins.

They leave me with a polluted air, and noise. Not to mention increasing global warming due to the heat released. Once I had to stare hard at someone idling right in front of my gate - too much noise and too much carbon monoxide being generated, while I was watching the news; and after staring at her for 5 mins, she got the drift and moved away from my gate.

I guess she knew I didn't stare at her because she was exceptionally beautiful.

But that didn't stop her from continuing to idling!

It is not like like it is mid-day and hence they need to bask in the cool air conditioned car; it is more like 9.00 pm, and it is typically cool and nice outside at that time of the night. If one person doing it, it is one thing. But if the whole neighbourhood starts dong it, it is another.

I know of someone who have 4 cars and loves to idle (and revving) it. It is for the good of the car, he once told me. I just smile, though I did tell him subtly that the idling and the revving are for the old days. He would leave the car idle at 5.30 am, before he leaves for his subh prayer.

No, it is not for 5 mins; it is more like 10-15 mins to me.

Coming back from dawn prayer, he would start to idle his 2 other cars, and for the 4th car, he would need to rev it since it is a very old car (like a 40-year old Merc).

So every morning before leaving for office, I would be breathing carbon monoxide environment instead of the cool and fresh morning air. I can smell the exhausts in my porch.

Hey, despite my being an engineer; someone who is used to help produce gasoline for cars, I know I am not mechanically inclined. I don't know much, and I don't care much about engine. But I do know for years that it is not necessary to idle one's car in the morning to warm them up. If you do need to do that, it is faster and better to warm it up by driving away.

Furthermore, we don't have snow in this tropics, never mind that the last few days has been winter, as far as I am concerned. It is that cold.

But it is worse by our attitude that we need to idle while waiting, some on the pretext that we would save the battery by doing so. But I think it is more for wanting to run the air-conditioner while waiting or running errands.


I am someone who has always reminded the boys that I would not leave the key in my ignition if we need to wait. Yes, it will get warm inside the car in our weather; in that case, we should get inside the house, or the shops or at least get in the shade, but I would never (well, almost) leave the car idling.

Here is an article from Yahoo.

Eight Facts About Warming Up Your Car in Winter

By Jim Motavalli
woman scraping ice off car
(Photo: Mika / Corbis)
Old habits die hard, and one of the oldest — still rigorously enforced by many drivers — is that "warming up" the car for a few minutes is necessary to avoid some kind of unspecified damage.

But idling is totally unnecessary, which is why many communities have enacted ordinances against the practice.

Don't take my word about idling being ineffective, but do listen to my mechanic, Rob Maier, who runs Maier's Garage in Bridgeport, Connecticut.

He says, "You don't really need to idle your car, because of the efficiency of modern fuel injection, which eliminated carburetors and chokes. The only reason to let the car idle at all is to get the oil circulating, but after 30 seconds that's a done deal. My truck has 150,000 miles on it, and I just throw it into gear and go."

Here are some quick facts and tips that should put the idling question to rest:

1. Driving warms the car faster than idling

If your concern is not the health of the car, but simply your own creature comforts, Bob Aldrich of the California Energy Commission points out that "idling is not actually an effective way to warm up a car — it warms up faster if you just drive it."

The coming electric cars, such as the Nissan Leaf, will incorporate a wonderful feature that allows the owner to use a cellphone to tell the car (which is plugged into the grid) to pre-warm or pre-cool the interior. No idling necessary.

2. Ten seconds is all you need

Environmental Defense Fund, which produced the Idling Gets You Nowhere campaign, advises motorists to turn off their ignition if they're sitting stopped for more than 10 seconds.

"After about 10 seconds, you waste more money running the engine than restarting it, said Andy Darrell, deputy director of the EDF Energy Program. "Switch the car off at the curb, and you'll be leaving money in your wallet and protecting the air in your community."

3. Idling hurts the car

According to the Hinkle Charitable Foundation's Anti-Idling Primer, idling forces an engine "to operate in a very inefficient and gasoline-rich mode that, over time, can degrade the engine's performance and reduce mileage."

The Campaign for an Idle-Free New York City points out that idling causes carbon residues to build up inside the engine, which reduces its efficiency.
Related: Five secrets to make your car last longer and save you money. ]

4. Idling costs money

Over a year of five minutes of daily idling (which causes incomplete combustion of fuel), the "Anti-Idling Primer" estimates that the operator of a V8-engine car will waste 20 gallons of gasoline, which not only produces 440 pounds of carbon dioxide but costs at least $60.

5. Idling in the garage can kill you

Idling a car in a garage, even with the door open, is dangerous and exposes the driver to carbon monoxide and other noxious gases. If the garage is attached, those fumes can also enter the house.

6. Block heaters beat remote starters

Lori Strothard of the Waterloo Citizens Vehicle Idling Reduction Task Force in Canada says, "Remote starters can too easily cause people to warm up their cars for 5 to 15 minutes, which is generally unnecessary."
A block heater, which is designed to heat the engine and can cost under $30, on a timer set to start one to two hours before driving, does the trick in very cold climates.

7. Quick errands aren't quick enough

Natural Resources Canada points out that leaving your car idling while you're running into a store on an errand or going back into the house to pick up a forgotten item is another way to waste gas and pollute both your town and the planet.

"Leaving your engine running is hard on your pocketbook, produces greenhouse gas emissions, and is an invitation to car thieves," the agency (PDF) says.

8. Idling is bad for your health (and your neighbor's health)

According to Minneapolis' anti-idling ordinance, "Exhaust is hazardous to human health, especially children's; studies have linked air pollution to increased rates of cancer, heart and lung disease, asthma and allergies."

Isabelle Silverman, who runs EDF's anti-idling campaign, says that car idling "is the second-hand smoking of the outdoors. One of the problems is that cars idle close to the curb, where pedestrians are walking. And when you have a child in a stroller, they are particularly close to the tailpipe. Studies show that children's IQ levels are lower when they live near major roads with lots of traffic." (A fresh study even links autism to freeway pollution.)

Alex Scaperotta, who created an anti-idling campaign with a classmate when he was in fifth grade in Wilton, Connecticut, came up with a slogan that was used on bumper stickers and websites: "If you're stopped for more than 10, turn it off and on again." Sounds like good advice.

Here is another from Taiwan. Way to go, Taiwan. Malaysia boleh bila lagi?

Driver fined for idling car engine

A man was fined NT$5,000 (RM490) for keeping his car engine running while it was not moving in Taiwan.
He was fined for air pollution.
Taichung's Environmental Protection Bureau introduce the regulation to ban the motorists from keeping their car engines running for over three-minutes when the vehicle is not moving.
Although the rule came into effect two years ago, authorities had until now refrained from booking, opting instead to educate and give warnings to  drivers.
But their "friendly approach" has ended with a driver surnamed Jiang recently.
Enforcement officer saw him eating in his car, with the engine running, under a tree.
After observing him for five minutes, they went up to him and asked him to turn off the car engine.
When he ignored them and continued eating, the enforcement team issued their first such summons.
Source: Nownews, Taiwan

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