I am a GS Leader and my troop is interested in working with parents to stop idling in the car pick up line. I have not found any information on this authoritative (!) site about how long a wait correlates to turning the car off. I have read 10 seconds for gas savings, and 30 seconds for reducing gas usage plus reducing wear and tear from running. Does anyone have the scoop? I am finding most drivers, particularly men, worry about their starter. Hm. Don’t know to what that is connected …
This topic is discussed often. The concern for additional wear on your starter over time is a very real concern. A starter replacement will cost you many times more than the tiny amount you’ll ever save in gas.
For me, if I know my wait will be longer than 3-5 minutes (like waiting for a freight train crossing), then I’ll turn the engine off. Otherwise, it’s not worth it.
If your goal is to save gas, think about that extra trip to the grocery store because you forgot to get a loaf of bread. You’ll save lots more gas with a little planning on how you use your car than you ever will by turning it off for small intervals.
Why don’t you check to see if there are already any local ordinances regarding this issue?
There are already a good number of municipalities that have ordinances on the books banning the idling of an engine for more than a very brief time.
If there is actually an ordinance in place, your GS Troop could make a project out of designing and making signs to post in front of the school in order to inform parents of the existence of the ordinance.
If there currently is no local ordinance on this topic, you could make a project out of lobbying the City Council (or other governing body) to enact such an ordinance.
Thank you. Your response about the starter is exactly what I want specific information about. Note here, http://www.consumerenergycenter.org/myths/idling.html, the comment is that after 30 seconds there is MORE wear and tear on your car, including the starter. This is from CA with no studies to back it up, and I was hoping to find how your version (costs more to replace a starter) and this version (more wear and tear by leaving it on) are to be reconciled.
Note that regardless of gas savings, the specific issues of increased air pollution created around schools is very problematic for young breathers. Possible there are reasons to reduce idling in these vicinities regardless of additional costs (if there are any as opposed to actually saving money on gas and car maintenance).
Finally, I live in TN which is not known for legislation to help the environment. However, I will do some research to see if this is the case.
Thank you. I admit that I was unable to find any previous discussions of this topic when I searched the Discussion Board. Could be that is buried way deep however.
“I live in TN which is not known for legislation to help the environment”.
But they did recently legalize the carrying of loaded weapons in a bar!
Just think of the advantages of that piece of legislation.
Guns & Alcohol, perfect together–at least according to the TN legislature.
I’m sorry. The Devil made me say that.
But I so like that devilish part of you…
What may not be as apparent outside of this wonderfully whacko state is that most cities and bars are opting out of the ordinance. Turns out when the legislation was passed, no one seemed to ask even the restaurant and hospitality lobbyists about the law. They really don’t like it. Ah, but it is the principle of the “thang…”
Quoting Albert Einstein…
“Not everything that counts can be measured. Not everything that can be measured counts.”
Numbers of seconds are irrelavent in this case, individuals need to use some common sense. If you know you will be waiting for a few minutes you wouldn’t wait until you are beyond the 30 second economy threshold before switching off.
Outside schools the rule should be switch off your engine. Period. The MTBF of my starter motor doesn’t even come into my children’s health equation.
Though I’ll admit that my reference to common sense may be overly optimistic. Were stupidity a renewable energy resource we would never need to worry about gas mileage.
Where are you located? I imagine in some areas with either extreme heat or extreme cold most people would find it preferable to keep the AC or heater blowing in certain conditions. If it’s 107 degrees out and I’m sitting in what’s essentially a greenhouse on wheels, rest assured the engine will be running and the AC will be blowing.
Yet another good reason to stay out of bars…You meet the nicest people…
“Outside schools the rule should be switch off your engine. Period. The MTBF of my starter motor doesn’t even come into my children’s health equation.”
What about the 50 idling diesel school buses??
UPS & FedX drivers continuously shut down and restart their engines hundreds of times a day.
Over the life of the truck they may put in one additional starter compared to the average joe. The key is how you operate the starter, when to release the ignition, how long to crank.
–I wouldn’t worry too much about starters.
A good project for your troop would be to initiate a detailed study as to the actual fuel savings ( or not ) and the air quality within the waiting area.
With the results in hand, you could justifiably ask , or demand, that they not idle while waiting.
Is there a merit badge that applies for the girls to earn ?