Many areas have implemented a no-idling policy for resort vehicles, from maintenance trucks to snow cats. The difference it makes, though hard to see or calculate, can be huge.
Myth vs. Reality
Few people know it, but idling a car or truck is actually detrimental to an automotive engine, and wastes a large amount of gasoline—about 3.8 million gallons of gasoline a day in the U.S. To combat this, here are a few myths behind idling:
Myth #1: Vehicles should idle for several minutes before being driven.
Wrong. Today’s modern engines need only a few seconds of idling time before they can be driven safely. And, the best way to warm up an engine is to drive it.
As well, one of the most commonly believed myths concerning diesel engines is that they need to idle for five minutes or more, especially on cold days, before being driven. Most engine manufacturers recommend that newer diesel engines run for no more than three minutes before driving. Gelling of diesel fuel used to be a problem, but refiners have worked to resolve this issue by creating winter blends that better withstand colder temperatures.
Myth #2: Starting your car uses more gasoline than letting it idle.
Wrong. Engines do not operate efficiently when they idle. Experts say there is a maximum 10-second break-even rule. If you are idling longer than 10 seconds, it’s better to turn the engine off and restart.
Myth #3: Repeatedly restarting your vehicle is hard on the engine and quickly drains the battery.
Wrong. Frequent restarting does not drain modern batteries. In fact, letting an engine idle does more damage than starting and stopping. Idling forces the engine to operate in a very inefficient and gasoline-rich mode that, over time, can degrade the engine’s performance and reduce mileage.
Now, let’s do some math: An 8-cylinder vehicle can save one cup of gasoline by eliminating five minutes of idling time. For every hour spent idling, a vehicle discharges approximately 9.7 pounds of carbon emissions. For diesel trucks, unnecessary idling consumes as much as one gallon of fuel per idling hour, and emits 19 pounds of carbon emissions. Multiply that by numerous guest vehicles, resort vehicles and buses, and it quickly adds up.
More and more resorts are adapting a “NO! Idling” or “Know Idling” policy to educate guests, save fuel costs and reduce CO2 emissions. It’s a simple initiative that can result in big savings, and benefit an area’s bottom line and its air quality.