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Don’t sit idle

Dear Editor:

Increasing fuel costs are making each trip with our vehicle more valuable.

One way to maximize the efficiency of every gal­lon of gasoline we burn is to reduce or elim­inate our idling times. Idling cars are not only a waste of this expensive resource, they are a risk to the health of many and a danger to the environment. If you need more reasons to eliminate car idling from your daily habits, keep in mind these idling cars are getting zero (that’s a big “0”) miles to the gallon, and idling actually is harmful to today’s vehicle engines.

The main myth associated with idling is the engine should be warmed up before driving. Even in cold weather, idling is not an effective way to warm up your vehicle. Today’s vehicles need no more than 30 sec­onds to warm up. The best way to warm up a vehicle is to drive it. An idling car does not operate at its peak temperature so it actual­ly can be damaging to the engine’s compo­nents including cylinders, spark plugs and exhaust systems.

As these cars sit idling, each gallon of gasoline burned adds 25 pounds of carbon dioxide to the air. Standard estimates hold that idling accounts for about 20 percent of the gasoline we buy. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, if 145 million pas­senger vehicles idle for five minutes a day, approximately 4 million gallons of gasoline are consumed. Idling has to be the lamest use of this exhaustible resource.

Many towns have idling ordinances of 10 minutes or less. In today’s awareness of environmental issues, expect changes in time limits in most towns. It actually is against Colorado state law to leave an unat­tended car running. Idling cars are hazardous not only to your wallet and you vehicle’s engine but also to your health and our planet’s health. Lead our children into the future by example. In our ever-changing world, all it takes is for you not to sit idle and begin making changes in your habits.

Dorothy Howard

Glenwood Springs


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