Canadians have built a society that is the envy of the world. But, in the process, we've developed a problem. Per capita, Canada uses more energy each year than almost any other country in the world. One of the reasons for this is our reliance on the automobile. Canadians own about 19 million cars, vans and light-duty trucks, and typically drive more than 300 billion kilometres (km) per year.
The transportation sector is responsible for 27 percent of greenhouse gas emissions. Light-duty vehicles are responsible for almost half of that total.
One easy way to cut fuel consumption and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions is to avoid unnecessary idling. If all drivers avoided idling for three minutes a day, we would save over $630 million per year (assuming a fuel cost of $1/litre). What's more, collectively, we would prevent 1.4 million tonnes of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere daily and contributing to climate change. This would be equal to saving over 630 million litres of fuel and equivalent to taking 320,000 cars off the road for the entire year. Clearly, individual actions, when taken by millions of Canadians, can make a difference.
Don't wait – launching your own personal idling campaign is as easy as turning off your engine.
- Step 1: Turn off the engine if the vehicle is going to be parked for more than 60 seconds (except in traffic.)
- Step 2: Drive the vehicle to warm it up, rather than idling the engine (usually no more than two to three minutes of idling is needed on cold winter days.)
- Step 3: Use remote car starters wisely to avoid excessively long warm-ups.
- Step 4: Use a block heater on cold winter days to warm the engine before starting it (ideally, the block heater should be turned on by an automatic timer 2 hours before leaving.).
- Step 5: Spread the word to your family and friends. Telling your family and friends about the benefits of reduced idling will help them save money and help protect the environment too.