Stuck in traffic? Save the planet by shutting off your engine. Not exactly

Every so often we find stories that warrant further debate. Today being a perfect illustration. The following relates to the City of Minneapolis, Minn.

“By: Nicole Muehlhausen, Web Producer
Mpls. limits vehicle idling to 3 minutes  
The Minneapolis City Council and Mayor R.T. Rybak approved changes Friday, to the city’s vehicle idling ordinance that aims to reduce air pollution. The ordinance limits most vehicle idling to three minutes, except in traffic.

“Most of the air pollution in Minneapolis comes from vehicles and cutting down in idling is one easy thing we can all do for our environment, our health, and the health of our neighbors,” said Mayor R.T. Rybak.

Vehicle motors release particulate matter, dirt, nitrous oxides, hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide into the air. These chemicals are linked to increased rates of cancer, heart and lung disease and asthma and are the major source of human-caused climate change. Children are especially vulnerable to vehicle air pollution because their lungs are still developing, and they inhale more pounds of pollution per pound of body weight than adults do.

For the driver, reducing idling saves money in fuel. On average, a car will burn more than half a gallon of fuel for every hour spent idling. In general, 10 seconds of idling uses more fuel then restarting the car, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

“In these times of high gas prices, it’s a way for people to save fuel. If you’re sitting in an idling car, you’re getting zero miles a gallon. That’s not good for your pocketbook or the environment,” Rybak added.

Engines generally pollute more when cold and driving a vehicle cuts warm-up time in half. Idling a cold engine actually pollutes more than driving it does and idling is harder on the engine.

An existing ordinance already applies to large diesel trucks and buses in Minneapolis, which in general limits idling of those vehicles to five minutes.”


I guess it’s OK for southern CA to continue shutting down the car pool lanes for those driving alone 24/7 while in northern CA they established realistic HOV lane criteria. Namely four hours in the morning and four hours in the afternoon Monday thru Friday. On all other days and hours ANYONE can drive in the designated car pool lanes. So by design we create gridlick rather than opening up our roads to save on fule and diminish pollution but what do I know. I asked Governor Pete Wilson to right this wrong how many years ago? I have lost count.

Exception. Those with hybrid decals on their cars which are exempt. 

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