Many California government employees engage in a lunch time ritual. They sit in their cars, turn on the air conditioning or heater, and set the engine running on “idle” so they don’t get a dead battery.
Relaxing in one’s car in such manner would appear to be a harmless activity, and understandable since there aren’t always nice dining areas at state buildings. However, just like a car en route, an idling one causes considerable damage to the environment, for two reasons:
First, though not moving, the car still generates greenhouses gases, (those very ones that former Governor Jerry Brown tried to reduce in the crusade against global warming.
Second and more immediate, the fumes emitted contribute to afflictions such as asthma, allergies and lung disease. Most susceptible, of course, are children.
Both effects countermand the efforts of State health insurance agencies towards expanding preventive health care. States should discourage the idling practice in worksite parking lots and State vehicles.
As for the public, many states waged anti-smoking campaigns a few years ago. That model could be used now to discourage car idling as a public scourge. The economic benefits for drivers are persuasive:
· It means less car repairs; a car in “idle” only partially burns the fuel, resulting in damage to the engine’s components;
· Less idling saves gas; one mile of idling equals two miles’ worth of gas; and
· In Wintertime, newer cars warm up more efficiently being driven than sitting in the driveway.
The City of Turlock could consider a ban on their vehicles being left to idle for more than a few minutes.
— Russell Schoen, Turlock