Be Air Aware

Be Air Aware:
Make a Commitment to Idle Less


Idling is leaving a vehicle’s engine on while the vehicle isn’t moving.  The Alamo Area Council of Governments is asking Greater San Antonio Area residents to reduce idling when possible, because it wastes fuel and pollutes the air.

Facts about idling

  • Two minutes spent idling is equivalent to one mile of driving in terms of gasoline used.
  • Idling a vehicle for 10 seconds wastes more fuel than restarting it.
  • Excessive idling can damage cylinders, spark plugs, and exhaust systems.
  • Restarting a car has little impact on its battery or starter motor.
  • Burning just one gallon of gas produces twenty pounds of pollutants.

Reasons to reduce idling

  • Protect health - Vehicle engines emit gasses that form ozone, a component of smog. Exposure to ozone can cause difficulty or painful breathing, and even permanent lung damage. Although everyone is susceptible to ozone pollution, children, people with respiratory conditions, and those who are active outdoors are at an increased risk.
  • Save money on gasoline - Owners of an average four-cylinder sedan would save 32 gallons of gas and $64 every year by reducing idling by eight minutes per day, while owners of an average eight-cylinder SUV or truck would save 64 gallons of gas and $128 a year.

How to reduce idling

  • Skip the drive-thru lane - Park and go inside instead! According to a study by QSR Magazine, drive-thru lunch orders take an average of 214 seconds, while drive-thru dinner orders typically take 226.
  • Turn off your car when waiting - Whether you’re waiting to pick up your child from school or sitting in the parking lot before work, turn off your vehicle. Just roll down your windows if it's hot, or switch to "accessory" mode if you want to listen to the radio.
  • Avoid peak traffic times - The worst times for traffic congestion are between 8-9 a.m. and 5-6 p.m. You’re more likely to idle in traffic during these times, wasting both gas and money. If possible, run errands at another time. If you regularly commute to work or school during these times, consider working with your employer to change your schedule.

For more information, visit www.aacog.com/air.
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