Three reasons you should stop leaving your car in idle by Dylan Reid
This article focuses on providing information about engine idling, how it affects our car, and how we can avoid it.
Most car drivers are guilty of leaving their engine idling from time to time, but the impact of doing so can be serious. From emitting unnecessary exhaust fumes to negatively affecting the health of those around us, there’s more harm in idle engines than you might realise.
Here are three important reasons why you should stop leaving your car idle.
1. Engine idling is bad for the environment
Car exhaust fumes contain carbon dioxide, which is a greenhouse gas. It acts like a blanket over the Earth’s atmosphere, trapping heat that would otherwise radiate out into space and causing the planet to overall get hotter.
Studies continue to show that the world’s climate is changing as a result of excessive carbon dioxide emissions, with human activities raising carbon dioxide content in the atmosphere by 50% over the last 200 years. If we don’t reduce our carbon emissions significantly and quickly, our environment will undergo catastrophic changes that will affect plant, animal and human life.
Of course, reducing our motor vehicle use can massively help to reduce our environmental impact. Many people are beginning to walk and cycle instead of driving when making short journeys, and electric vehicles are also growing in popularity. But if these options aren’t available to you, you can still help to minimise your carbon dioxide emissions by avoiding engine idling.
2. Engine idling is harmful to human health
Pollution from petrol and diesel vehicles is a major contributor to poor air quality, as carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide and hydrocarbons are all harmful substances contained in car engine exhaust fumes. Most of the global population breathe poor quality air, which can cause or worsen a variety of health problems, including asthma, lung cancer, coronary heart disease and stroke.
When you avoid leaving your car idle, you help to reduce air pollution in your local area. You might have noticed when visiting rural areas that the air feels and smells fresher due to there being less traffic on the roads. If we all strive to minimise our motor vehicle use and cut down on unnecessary engine idling, we can improve air quality in our urban and suburban areas.
3. Engine idling is illegal in many countries
The environmental and health implications of engine idling are so significant that many countries have laws prohibiting it, including Hong Kong, Germany, France and Australia. Engine idling is illegal in dozens of states in the US, with specific rules varying between regions. In the UK, leaving an engine idle unnecessarily is a road traffic offence that can lead to fines, but as many as 60% of British drivers are unaware of laws surrounding engine idling.
Punishments for engine idling vary widely, but fines are most common. The definition of engine idling varies in different countries, so it’s important to familiarise yourself with your local laws. Some focus on the length of time a car is idle for, whereas others concentrate on a car being left unattended by its owner while the engine is running.
Stop letting your engine idle
If you’re in the habit of letting your engine idle, it’s time to make a change. Adjust your driving habits as soon as possible to minimise your impact on public health and the environment.