Idling our cars is an ever increasing problem

“Turning our vehicles off, not idling, not using drive through windows at fast food restaurants, is something each and every person can do to lower the impact of C02 emissions into the atmosphere. Not only does this action assist in the reduction/control of harmful C02 emissions into the atmosphere, but, in fact, it saves money.” Deborah Haswell, Councillor, City of Owen Sound

Towns are enacting anti-idling by-laws to protect their citizens from   harmful car emissions that cause pollution and climate change. Any anti-idling by- law must have a strong educational campaign if it is to work.  Simply enacting a by-law and not having an educational campaign to work in conjunction with its enforcement is certainly an exercise in futility.  The City of Hamilton recognized this a few years ago, and asked Green Venture to put together a campaign to get the city ready for its anti-idling by law.  Signs and displays were set up at many schools and events and even twenty-two “clean air ambassadors” were sent out on the streets!


Collingwood Councillor Ian Chadwick also emphasized that education plays a vital role in stopping idling.   There must be “benefits” in not idling to counter the convenience, for most people to comply willingly, he said. Governments must give the public reasons to want to stop idling. One simple benefit is having and extra $100 in your pocket each year by not idling your car. The slogan “Idling gets you nowhere” is obviously true, but not many people realize that 45 seconds of idling uses about the same gas to drive you a kilometer.   Of course your car will be a lot better off as well since fuel does not undergo complete combustion when idling. Spark plugs get dirty quickly with idling, and this in turn can increase fuel consumption by four or five percent!  The benefits for the planet are very clear: every gallon of fuel that is burned produces 20 pounds of carbon dioxide. If every driver in Canada avoiding idling for five minutes a day 1.6 million tons of C02 would be prevented from entering the atmosphere. More information? See oee.nrcan.gc.ca
Senior Vice President, Nick Javor, of Tim Hortons knows that his company is getting poor publicity since CBC and the University of Alberta said that the average wait at a drive-though is a little over five minutes. Car emissions at an Edmonton franchise are estimated to be 385 kilograms each day.  Mr. Javor acknowledged that the company is on a “fast learning curve” and was trying to quicken service. My suggestion that there are educational ways to try to get more people inside stores was met with Mr. Javor saying that Tim Horton franchise owners need to get back to him on this issue before any substantial changes can be enacted.
Make a difference today by telling your Tim Horton franchise owner drive-throughs don’t help our planet’s health!  Nick will listen if you write to him at javor_nick@timhortons.com  or phone, 905 339-6176

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