Car Idling Wastes Money and Fuel

Vehicle idling contributes to environmental pollution and increases fuel consumption, thus wasting money and damaging the vehicle.

Damage to the Vehicle

Car idling means letting the engine run while parked and in general not in motion. This not only contributes to pollution but can damage the vehicle’s exhaust system, spark plugs, and cylinders. Peak temperature cannot be reached which results in fuel not being optimally combusted. Fuel residue starts to build up and can damage the exhaust systems and spark plugs over time. Other components can break as well, including the thermostat and fan belt. The risk of damage is even greater if the car is not regularly serviced and maintained.

Increased Fuel Consumption

Idling also increases fuel consumption, with larger cars using more fuel than compact ones. Driving a vehicle with a 5-litre engine wastes ½ litre of fuel while a car with a 3-litre engine will waste 300 mililitres over just 10 minutes. On average, 2 minutes of idling are equal to driving about a mile. Restarting the engine can save a lot of fuel that is wasted each day. Experts recommend turning the engine off when not in motion for more than 1 minute. Unless in traffic, turning off is better than idling.

Wasting a Valuable Resource

Crude oil is the raw material used to produce most gasoline. Crude oil is, however, a non-renewable source which is depleted at a faster rate than being extracted. Reports show that the world’s supplies will be depleted in about 70 years which will result in oil price hike-ups in the near future. What is more, fracking is commonly used to extract shale, resulting in excessive waste of water. In addition to contamination of water sources, scientists warn that fracking may increase the risk of cancer in local communities. Car idling wastes valuable non-renewable resources and contributes to contamination.

Other Factors Affecting Consumption

There are other factors to take into account when it comes to fuel consumption, including the condition, age, and maintenance of the vehicle, braking speed, and road and weather conditions. Other factors include outside temperature, acceleration, and driving speed.

Technology That Lower Consumption

Many manufacturers now feature vehicles with advanced technologies that can help reduce consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. Examples of advanced technologies include direct fuel injection, idle stop-start technology, and variable valve timing. Turbocharging and cylinder deactivation systems also help reduce fuel consumption. Idle stop-start technology, for example, reduces consumption by 10 percent or more for city miles. Stop-start systems are now installed on both standard vehicles and hybrid electric cars to reduce exhaust emissions. Driving a car equipped with a stop-start system saves on fuel worth up to $1,540. To this, the technology combines several components, including a starter system, alternator, and battery. There are also vehicles with direct fuel injection systems which reduce consumption by up to 3 percent. Direct fuel injection helps lower emissions and results in savings of up to $840. Newer diesel vehicles also consume less fuel than cars that run on gasoline. They are equipped with advanced technologies such as exhaust emission-reduction, sound dampening, turbocharging, common rail fuel injection, and electronic controls. Lighter cars also need less fuel, and lighter vehicles are increasingly offered by manufacturers.

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Initiatives for Reducing Car Emissions in British Columbia

Multiple initiatives and measures have been implemented and organized to reduce car emissions in British Columbia, including the CleanBC Plan, Clean Energy Vehicle Program, and others.

CleanBC Plan

Developed by the government of British Columbia, the CleanBC Plan aims to minimize climate pollution by encouraging the use of zero- and energy-efficient vehicles. The goal is to ensure that energy-efficient vehicles are more available and effective as to reduce emissions and reverse climate change. This will also help create more jobs and business opportunities to boost the local economy.

Clean Energy Vehicle Program

This is an emission program that has been implemented in British Columbia with the goal of providing incentives to shift to energy-efficient vehicles. Funding in the amount of over $65 million has been made available to make clean vehicles more affordable. The main objective is to reduce emissions by encouraging the use of clean energy technologies.

Organizations That Encourage Emission Reduction

Based in Vancouver, Climate Smart aims to lower greenhouse gas emissions by partnering with airports, ports, financial institutions, and governments. The goal is to encourage businesses to minimize carbon and GHG emissions by using newer, enhanced, and less carbon-intensive technologies and methods. The social enterprise was first established as a program offered by Ecotrust Canada. Businesses are encouraged to keep travel records and use alternative ways of commuting.

Electric Vehicles and Incentives in British Columbia

Different types of electric vehicles are available in BC, including hybrid plug-in cards and battery electric vehicles. Rebates and incentives are offered under different programs, including federal incentives, SCRAP IT incentives, and rebates under the CEVforBC™ program. Rebates of up to $3,000 are available to local government and non-profit organizations, businesses, and residents provided that they lease or buy a new plug-in hybrid or battery electric vehicle. Entities and individuals who lease or buy a plug-in vehicle qualify for $1,500 while those who lease or buy a battery electric or hydrogen fuel cell vehicle qualify for $3,000. Incentives are also available for scraping highly-polluting vehicles and buying an electric battery or another energy-efficient vehicle. Under the SCRAP IT program, rebates in the amount of $3,000 are offered to buy used electric vehicles. Buyers purchasing new electric vehicles are offered $6,000 provided that they are registered owners who plan on scraping their vehicle. Vehicles can be purchased from qualifying dealers only. Once the vehicle is ready for delivery, owners may apply under the program. They are asked to provide information such as owner and co-owner names, gender, and details for the vehicle being scrapped. These include engine size, transmission, fuel type, model, manufacturer and make, year, and VIN number. Car owners are also asked to choose from different types of incentives, including cash, car share credit, electric bike, mobility scooter, and BC Transit ECOPASS. Federal incentives are also offered by Transportation Canada to purchase hydrogen fuel cell, plug-in hybrid electric, and battery electric vehicles. Incentives of $5,000 are offered for longer range plug-in hybrid vehicles and hydrogen fuel cell and battery electric cars. Incentives of $2,500 are available for shorter range hybrid electric cars. Long range vehicles are such that can drive a distance of at least 50 km and have a battery capacity of 15 kWh or more. Short range vehicles have a lower capacity. Incentives are also offered for leased vehicles, and recipients may get the full incentive amount for a 48-month lease or a prorated amount for a 12-month or longer lease. Demonstrator vehicles are eligible as well but certain conditions apply such as an odometer reading that is below 10,000 km.

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