Smarter Business: Greening Advisor
Idling cars and trucks emit air pollutants including nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, volatile organic compounds, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, and particles. These pollutants are responsible for a wide range of environmental and health problems, including global warming, smog, acid rain, and respiratory illnesses. In addition, pollutants in diesel emissions can cause cancer. In San Francisco, for example, the EPA has found that air toxins are responsible for an additional 2,600 cases of cancer for every one million people in the city. Some 90 percent of this risk is the result of diesel fumes. To limit these impacts, and save money by conserving fuel, consider issuing a no-idling policy for company vehicles and for any vehicle on company property. The sample policy below, adapted from the EPA, provides a useful starting point for writing your own policy.
Less idling means less wasted fuel, which can save your company money. A six-cylinder diesel vehicle that idles for one hour a day wastes more than $1600 worth of fuel over the course of a year, with gas at $2.50/gallon.
Sample No-Idling Policy
(Adapted from the EPA)
This policy applies to the operation of any vehicle on company property.
Exhaust from idling vehicles can accumulate and pose a health risk to employees, drivers, and the community at large. Exposure to exhaust can cause lung damage and respiratory problems. Exhaust also exacerbates asthma and existing allergies, and long-term exposure is thought to increase the risk of lung cancer. Idling vehicles also waste fuel and financial resources and contribute to global warming. Idling is bad for the environment and bad for the bottom line.
To minimize idling time in all aspects of facility vehicle operation.
- When drivers arrive at loading or unloading areas to drop off or pick up passengers, they should turn off their vehicles as soon as possible to eliminate idling time and reduce harmful emissions. Vehicles should not be restarted until passengers are ready to depart and there is a clear path by which to exit the pickup area. Exceptions include conditions that would compromise passenger safety, such as:
- extreme weather
- idling in traffic
- At bus and facility vehicle depots, limit idling time during early-morning warm-up to what is recommended by the vehicle manufacturer (generally 3 to 5 minutes) in all but the coldest weather.
- All service delivery vehicles should turn off their engines while making deliveries to the facility.
- All drivers of any company vehicle should receive a copy of this bulletin and have an opportunity to discuss it at the beginning of every year.
A six-cylinder diesel vehicle that idles for one hour a day wastes more than $1600 worth of fuel over the course of a year (with gas at $2.50/gallon).
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