How many times have you pulled into the drive thru at the bank and just sat there, with your engine running? Idling is certainly convenient, but it also wastes fuel and money – and who likes to breathe in the exhaust of the vehicle idling in front of them in the drive thru?
The Division for Air Quality (DAQ) has teamed with the Commonwealth Credit Union (CCU) to help reduce unnecessary idling in bank drive thru lanes. Customers are being encouraged to “turn the key, be idle free” on video screens in the drive thru.
“Commonwealth Credit Union is happy to partner with Division for Air Quality to pilot an idle reduction campaign at all our drive thru locations,” said CCU marketing director Andrea Hayes. “We hope to encourage people that use our drive thru lanes to turn off their engines to save gas, money and the environment.”
DAQ director John Lyons came up with the idea of an idle reduction campaign when he visited his local credit union branch. “I noticed some vehicles idling for up to 5 minutes while waiting in line at the drive thru,” he recalled. “It seemed like a perfect opportunity to encourage people to turn off their engines, save some money and protect the air.”
When we first learned to drive, many of us were taught that starting up an engine wastes fuel – that it was better to let your vehicle idle rather than turning it off and turning it on again. This may have been true many years ago, but advances in engine technology have made idling unnecessary – and even harmful – to modern engines. Here are some common myths about idling:
MYTH: Idling uses less gas than turning off and restarting your engine.
FACT: If you’re going to be parked for more than 10 seconds, you’ll save gas by turning off your vehicle and restarting it. Engines don’t operate efficiently when they idle, so idling wastes gas.
MYTH: An engine should be warmed up before driving.
FACT: Today’s modern engines only require 30 seconds of warm-up time before driving – and that’s true even in the coldest weather. The most effective way to warm up an engine is to drive your vehicle. Even modern diesel engines generally require no more than three minutes of warm-up time before driving. Check your owner’s manual for specific guidelines for warming up your vehicle.
MYTH: Idling is good for your engine.
FACT: Excessive idling can actually harm engine components like spark plugs, cylinders, and exhaust systems. Fuel is only partially combusted in an idling engine, since the engine isn’t operating at peak temperature. This means fuel residues can build up on engine components and damage them.