Idling occurs when a vehicle or other engine is left running In the recent past, it was necessary to keep cars and trucks idling just to keep the engine on and running. Starting an engine was risky, inconvenient, and dangerous before the invention of electric starters in the 1960’s for gasoline powered vehicle.
Diesel engines have always been harder to start than gasoline powered engines because many engines use resistive heaters in the intake manifold to warm the inlet air for starting, or until the engine reaches operating temperature.
Today, due to technology advances, it is no longer a necessity to idle while stopped or parked. Idling has become a habit that wastes fuel and money, while costing all of us the ill effects of smog pollution. Smog is the common name for ground level ozone and engine idling adds to NOx and VOC emissions, which contribute to negative, unhealthy levels of ground level ozone.
The Regional Air Quality Planning Committee (RAQPC) assists and advises H-GAC, regional and local governments, transportation organizations and other agencies on air quality issues. The Regional Air Quality Planning Committee recognizes the environmental, economic and health benefit potential associated with idling reduction in the Houston-Galveston region. In late 2011, the Regional Air Quality Planning Committee formed an Idling Reduction Subcommittee to develop a voluntary diesel idling reduction policy for public and private sector fleets operating in our nonattainment region.
Minimizing diesel-engine idling results in economic, environmental, and quality of life benefits. Reducing idling is beneficial in the following ways:
Idling of diesel engines wastes fuel and drains financial resources. For example, eliminating bus and truck idling can save thousands of dollars per vehicle/per year. Conservative estimates indicate that reducing diesel engine idling by two hours per day can save over 500 gallons of fuel and over $1,500 per year.
Idling engines significantly contribute to air pollution; Idling increases fine particulates, greenhouse gases, and nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions, a major component in the formation of ground-level ozone. Reducing idling will assist the Houston-Galveston area in attaining the National Ambient Air Quality Standard for ground-level ozone (currently in non-attainment).
Health risks, such as lung damage, respiratory problems, asthma and cancer, have been linked to the accumulated exposure to exhaust from idling vehicles. Reducing idling in turn reduces the potential health risks.
Reduced idling enhances safety in the working environment and public safety in general.
A corporate dedication to idling reduction demonstrates fiscal responsibility, social consciousness, employee concern and environmental stewardship.